Tuesday, 7 February 2017

REVIEW - THE LOVE WITCH (ANNA BILLER)


The gentle, gentrified warmth of retro pastiche bursts into an almighty blaze in shades of red, pink, nude, and no less than every other vivid hue in the rainbow in Anna Biller's defiantly creative The Love Witch. Here is a true tribute to the tastes of old, using dated, oft-derided techniques to design something as innovative and fresh as once they were too, in coy, scuzzy B-movies of half a century ago. Biller may have lost the capacity to subvert social norms by sheer misfortune of having been born far too late, but her artistic subversion is accompanied by unambiguous political subversion, presented with a joyous lack of inhibition. For all its own soothing beauty, every aspect of the realization of Biller's concepts is overt, even confrontational to the layperson, expecting a winking homage but receiving a brutal appropriation to boldly original effect. The intention behind every such aspect in The Love Witch is plain to behold, an assertion in its scrupulous director's command of so wide a variety of roles - she is also writer, producer, production and costume designer and decorator, editor, and composer - as to explicitly state the cruciality of a woman imposing upon her milieu total control, and insisting upon the acquisition of her aims. She'll meet no opposition from this reviewer - her film, as her protagonist, is forthright, funny, intelligent, sexy, and utterly sumptuous, and ever in a manner most abrasive to a mollified audience of masculine sensibilities. Femininity takes over in The Love Witch, and its corrosive embrace amounts to one of the most refreshing cinema experiences in quite some time.