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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Witching and Bitching (2013) Horror Witches

Witching and Bitching (2013) - The witches have a prophecy and see there chance coming, the surprising establishment of those details are the first refreshing thing about this film. A heist by the most unlikely cast of characters. Silver Jesus, Jose (Hugo Silva) and his son Sergio (Gabriel Angel Delgado), a man, Antonio (Mario Casas) dressed as a green toy soldier, Spongebob Squarepants (look alike since Nickelodeon would never go for that), Minny Mouse (look alike, since Disney would never go for that) and an invisible man look alike since Universal would never... well they might go for it. The chaos that follows is both very violent and so hilarious. Right away the mix of humor and violence strikes the viewer as something unusual. Then during the get away when the Jesus character argues with his ex-wife Silvia (Macarena Gómez) about their ten year old son Sergio it makes for a promising start. Cut with scenes of his wife  and her reactions of the situation there is nicely rounded character development. Quite a few screenwriting books talk about the importance of the first ten minutes of a film. The writer wants to drawn the reader (of the script) in and get them asking question. This particular beginning certainly does that. Interesting setup, right into the action and then to the getaway, its well done by writers Jorge Guerricaechevarría and Álex de la Iglesia.
  Tony and Jose with Sergio and cab driver Manual (Jaime Ordóñez) who after talking relationships with the men joins their gang. Early in this film you have to be asking yourself what the fuck, and later it all you can think. As the men make their way to the country side to get out of the frying pan they will soon realized they have hopped into an inferno. Looking to cross the border they learn they have to pass through the infamous town of Zugarramundi, the witches town. The place where witchcraft began and soon after turning towards the town things start going horribly wrong when they hit an old woman in the road. While fighting with each other about what to do,  they accidentally break open her charm pouch spraying powder into the air and the woman vanishes. Now here is a place where they symbolically enter into the world of magic. Imagine the pouch is filled with powder that they all inhale if from this point they are all under the influence of magic, all the physics and  real world expectations are no longer in effect. Now magic can happen and as an audience we can believe everything presented. The men are now either under the influence of drugs or are in a world of magic. This kind of symbolic cross over is particularly important in a fantasy piece like this one. It allows the characters to enter a fantastical part of the story while at the same time allows the audience the suspension of disbelief  necessary to take the ride with them.

   The three witches Grandmother Maritxu (Terele Pávez), her daughter Graciana (Carmen Maura) and granddaughter Eva (Carolina Bang) are found out for what they are at the 50 minute mark of the story, it seems like a turn where the men must at least deal with the family. At the same time Silvia is on her way to find her son. This film is great fun from the competition between Jose and Tony for the amazingly sexy attentions of Eva, to the bat shit crazy way the witches behave when they want to be less human and more crazy. The effects are awesome, with walking on walls and ceilings, and the whole attitude of the film is light hearted and playful. It is not called Witching and Bitching for no reason, equal parts story about witches and characters bitching about their lives and relationships the film is comedy and tragedy at the same time. Every character is not just a player in the escape plot but has some interpersonal device that they are dealing with while participating in the larger story.
    At the same time Silvia is one very angry ex-wife and is also tracking down the men. Followed by the two lead cops on the robbery case, and all of this comes to a head at the mansion of the witches. There is a lot of plot that could be talked about but this film is better experienced fresh, without foreknowledge.The plot groes as the connections are made to the predictions in the first scene. The "chosen one" has arrived and with that there is a larger plot of the fulfillment of a prophecy and the return to earth of the Mother of all witches. The second act builds into the third act and sets up the last thirty minutes with a passion for the fantastic.

  The climax when hundreds of witches come together for the ritual that will bring their Messiah to earth with "God created Woman in her own image" full of pomp and circumstance signally the end of the male Christian patriarchy and the beginning of the age of women. Played for laughs we cut between the remaining free character and the ritual. The greatness of this film is its ability to grow. It gets larger and larger with each scene. The stakes end up being the end of the world as we know it and all the time it is till a story about the characters and their interpersonal stories with each other. So wonderfully executed it is a film everyone should go and see. Subtitles are difficult for some being a Spanish production but it is really worth it. So this film will get a very strong recommendation, get out there and find this one.


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