New Anna Biller’s thriller has become a combination of style, sex and soccer. It is a playful and gory romp about a young sorceress who is wandering across the Californian coast desperate to lure a new love. Anna Biller masterfully plays with ideas of sexual prowess and feminist ideals which makes her film contemporary, but magical at the same time.

Who Is Anna Biller?

Love Witch: Frightening Female Power In A New Anna Biller's Film

 

Anna Biller has already earned the glory of a badass feminist cinema-artist. She founded her own production company, she does everything by herself: producing, directing, writing, designing and composing. She is known for her lavish use of color, her original brand of narcissistic feminism and her witty imitations of old Hollywood spectacle and genre movies. Biller’s aesthetic is unique and bold, and harkens back to the heyday of exploitation features with plenty of old Hollywood touches and deliciously feminist messaging.

Love Witch: Frightening Female Power In A New Anna Biller's Film

Love Witch is her second work. Nine years ago, her movie Viva, a tale of promiscuity in 1970s Los Angeles suburbia, earned her a reputation as a starlet of underground Hollywood. The film was a praise of old-fashioned traditions – the ultimate satirical homage to late-’60s/early-’70s sexploitation cinema.

It took her almost a decade to create the follow-up Love Witch. No doubt much of that time was again spent meticulously accruing every tacky bauble of decor and dress necessary to recreate another semi-forgotten subgenre: the early- to mid-’70s occult thriller.

 

A Bit About the Plot

Elaine, played by Samantha Robison, is fleeing the mysterious death of her ex-husband. She is disappointed by all of the men from her past and by the fact how they see her and how she feels she’s turned to love spells to achieve her romantic dreams.

Love Witch: Frightening Female Power In A New Anna Biller's Film Love Witch: Frightening Female Power In A New Anna Biller's Film

Get ready to the trippy sex scenes and Wiccan rituals follow, along with a dash of magic involving a used tampon. Men falling under Elaine charms are unable to handle the intense feelings that the witch put into them, so they die of curious causes that the film leaves purposely ambiguous. Is it the potions? Or can they just not handle a powerful woman taking control?

 

The Idea Behind

 

Biller started developing the feministic ideas in Viva. As she says “I was extremely angry after I finished ‘Viva’. ‘Viva’ got talked about like a copy or pastiche of a sexploitation films and not as something that maybe borrows a little bit from those films, but completely is different. I was really kind of horrified that nobody picked up on it.” She was also really insulted by critics and viewer’s reviews and objections that she got, comments on lack of nudity in the film. It took her a lot time to create a new film and uncover the theme of female power again.

Love Witch: Frightening Female Power In A New Anna Biller's Film Love Witch: Frightening Female Power In A New Anna Biller's Film

Anna confesses what inspired her to create such a female character: “That’s something I like to feel when I’m watching beautiful women on screen. I like to feel that I am that woman. I have that beauty, I have that power. It’s a kind of narcissistic attachment.”

Behind the plot there is a important idea that is urgent today: “Elaine represents two things, one is the fear of female sexuality and female power. The other is the strength that women feel when they own their sexuality and allure,” says Anna. The main female character looks like Edwige Fenech crossed with Lana del Rey and has that kind of face that acts like a mirror which gives any female watcher to project yourself onto her and feel infused with the character’s irresistible charms.

Love Witch: Frightening Female Power In A New Anna Biller's Film

Biller points out that speaking about Viva most male critics and viewers payed attention to the 60th aesthetic and considered it to be some kind of an homage. For Biller as a filmmaker, actually, this style is just a source of frustration. The purpose of her project wasn’t to create just a stylized movie, but to speak again about a powerful woman which scares men and about abusive relationships between them.

 

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