The Love Witch

I’m writing this at my table while a summer thunderstorm rolls in over the evening and shakes the trees outside my window, because when ELSE am I going to write about The Love Witch, the astonishingly period-perfect 1960s B-movie pulp pastiche in which, essentially, Lana Del Rey is a psychotic lovesick California witch who, [sighs prettily], just wants a man but they just keep dying on her.

I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quite like Anna Biller’s The Love Witch. The thoroughness with which it renders the brightly colored costumes and sculptural 35mm cinematography and terrible, terrible clunky acting of its cheesy occult horror reference points is positively fetishistic. This movie never winks, never even blinks, it is so committed to the bit that it becomes almost narcotic to watch. “What,” I silently mouthed at every set, every line delivery, every pigment of Samantha Robinson’s makeup. This whole thing is so camp you could stick a spoon in it and it wouldn’t fall over, and no I don’t know what I mean by that! That’s what this movie brings me to!

I think the part most lodged in my mind is when Elaine and her latest lover stumble into some sort of Renaissance Fair Sleep No More under the California sunshine that looks like absolutely nothing so much as a Rider-Waite tarot deck brought to life in cheap satin. Like, just incredible, insane aesthetic dedication. I do not think this movie should be two hours long, and I’m sure the bizarre throwback style of it will turn off quite a number of people, at times nearly me, but man, this thing is such an object. I kinda treasure that this was made. Keep making movies, Anna Biller, you are fearless.

★★½

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