The Love Witch Casts a Spell

Love can be magical. It can also be horrific. For The Love Witchs protagonist, Elaine, it manages to be a little bit of both.

The Love Witch is a horror-thriller written and directed by Anna Biller. Much like Biller’s previous feature Viva, The Love Witch pays homage to films of the sixties and seventies by embracing its campiness with open arms. With the help of lighting tricks, elaborate set/costume design, and the decision to cut from its original camer

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Photo by Anna Biller Productions

a negative, The Love Witch succeeds in replicating the aesthetics of classic technicolor films.

However, The Love Witch’s cinematography isn’t the only thing that makes the film interesting. Underneath the retro glamor lies a story chock full of social awareness. The Love Witch may utilize common tropes, but what it brings to the table is feminist commentary, which might just be what cinema needs in this current political climate.

The Plot

The Love Witch follows a young witch named Elaine on a journey to start over after the death of her husband Jerry. After making her way to Arcata, California, Elaine takes shelter in a home owned by her mentor, Barbara. While staying in Barbara’s home, Elaine meets Trish, an interior designer that happens to be in charge of the house’s upkeep.

Shortly after their initial meeting, Elaine and Trish discuss their views towards relationship dynamics over tea. It becomes clear to Trish (and the film’s viewers) that Elaine’s view of her role as a woman is relatively patriarchal. Elaine is

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Photo by Anna Biller Productions

eager to find the love of her life, and believes that the best way to accomplish this is to give a man everything he wants, especially in regards to sex. Trish attempts to tell Elaine that there are other ways to find love, but Elaine persists and heads out to find the man of her dreams.

After her meeting with Trish, Elaine meets a college professor named Wayne. Determined to charm him, Elaine convinces Wayne to take her to his cabin. Once there, Elaine uses love magic in hopes that it will make the encounter worthwhile. Unfortunately for Elaine, this ends in disaster, as Wayne falls so deeply in love with her that he dies the following morning.

This seems to be a consistent occurrence for Elaine throughout the movie, as she encounters two other men and faces similar consequences. The Love Witch shows how Elaine’s approach to love is incredibly destructive, while putting major emphasis on Elaine’s transformation from hopeless romantic to femme fatale.

RELATED LINK: For another take on relationship dynamics, read “Be Our Guests! 

The Execution

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Photo by Anna Biller Productions

Biller manages to tell a story about gender and female sexuality in a way that feels fresh and exciting. The Love Witch pokes fun at the same films it’s trying to replicate in appearance by pointing out the absurdity of how these films often represented relationships and women.

The character of Elaine is particularly fascinating because her entire essence seems to tear down the idea of what it means to be a manic pixie dream girl. The men that fall in love with Elaine admire her because she’s “unlike” any of the other women that they had met before. They see her as the personification of perfection, which is comical considering that each of them meet their demise during their encounters with her.

What makes Elaine a standout in the film is that she feels like a changed character by the time the story comes to an end. She starts the film as someone that is lacking agency, and ultimately, she’s able to find that agency, even if the results are a bit gruesome.

Beyond Yes or No: Consent as a Sexual Process

For the peer-led discussions, my group read an article called Beyond Yes or No: Consent as a Sexual Process. In the article, Rachel Kramer Bussel added a new layer to the discussion of consent by discussing the importance of being verbal with one’s partner when it comes to pleasure.

Overall, the article was really interesting. It makes a good point that the meaning behind consent goes beyond a simple yes or no. Sex should be enjoyable for everyone involved, and for it to actually be enjoyable, there needs to be some communication between both parties.

I would say this article also pointed out how sex is still a taboo subject for a lot of people. Part of why these discussions are rare is because people are afraid to be candid about sex, even with their own partners. This point seemed to really hit me as I discussed the article with my group in the library. There was something slightly embarrassing about discussing an article that focused on sex in such a public place, but I couldn’t help but reflect on how unfortunate it is that I was feeling that way about a school assignment. Sex should be a comfortable subject for people, especially when it’s being discussed between two people actually having sex.

I also think it’s important to discuss how this taboo affects women. I think men typically feel more comfortable discussing what they want from their partners, because women have been conditioned to think that they aren’t allowed to want anything from sex. In Western society, there’s such a massive focus on reproduction when it comes to sex, and I think that stifles women’s pleasure in a really drastic manner.

Hopefully, progress can eventually made as people like Bussel open up about their feelings towards the subject.

/Film Manages to Slash Its Competition

Blog name or title: /Film

Blog Author (If one author): Multiple Authors

Brief description:

/Film is a blog dedicated to keeping its readers updated on the latest happenings in the film industry. With multiple contributors posting content on a daily basis, /Film keep202977a90925dac81c1313fc4c684f0c.pngs its readers informed by posting casting news, trailers, reviews, and more. 

Why I like this blog (include why you chose it, what about the blog matches up with your own interests or pursuits):

I chose /Film for this review because I found the blog’s history to be interesting. It was founded in 2005 and started as a relatively small blog. Flash forward about twelve years, and it’s made quite a name for itself. 

enjoy the writing style that /Film’s frequent contributors present. Posts manage to feel somewhat personal and less robotic than a lot of other film blogs out there. That being said, I think the website’s layout feels a bit outdated. I think an upgraded look could help bring in a new audience, though I’m not entirely sure /Film really needs a new audience to begin with. They’ve found their voice, and I think that’s important to acknowledge.

Film Independent Helps Filmmakers Flourish

Blog name or title: Film Independent 

Blog Author (If one author): Multiple Authors

Brief description:

Film Independent is an organization that’s primary goal is to help filmmakers bring their projects to life, while also helping filmmakers promote their films. They have a blog section on their website where contributors post interviews with prominent industry figures, analytical pieces on certain aspects of film, and promotional content for films the blog’s contributors are excited about.2

Why I like this blog (include why you chose it, what about the blog matches up with your own interests or pursuits):

I chose Film Independent for this review because I like the organization’s overall goal. The fact that they had a frequently updated blog was simply a plus.

In terms of writing style, Film Independent doesn’t stand out to me as particularly inventive, but it gets the job done while remaining aesthetically pleasing. The website’s visuals are well organized, colorful, and generally fun to look at. I would say the site’s layout is probably my favorite part, and their web designer definitely deserves kudos for making the organization’s website both lively and accessible. 

The Film Experience Provides Frequency and Familiarity

Blog name or title: The Film Experience

Blog Author (If one author): Multiple Authors, with Nathaniel Rogers as the blog’s founder and primary contributor.

Brief description:

The Film Experience provides its readers with frequent reviews, commentary on upcoming projects, and praise for some of the film industry’s biggest stars. 3.png

Why I like this blog (include why you chose it, what about the blog matches up with your own interests or pursuits):

I’m obnoxiously passionate about the state of the film industry, so it seemed natural for me to choose a blog that’s primary focus is the film industry for this review.

What I enjoy about The Film Experience is that it has a variety of contributors that each have their own individual writing styles. They make it easy to follow certain writers, and even include their contact information in the blog’s “About” section. Each contributor seems to have their own set of interests that pertain to the industry, so it’s interesting to read a pretty wide variety of opinions, especially during Award Season. 

I also enjoy how often the blog’s contributors post. It never feels like there’s a lack of content being posted on The Film Experience, and I think the frequency of posts played a big part in them finding an audience. 

A Brief History of Tonya Harding

Out of every “celebrity feud” that’s hit the media over the years, I’ve always found the story of Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan to be the most exciting. Perhaps that’s a bit morbid, considering that Kerrigan got her leg clubbed as a result of the feud, but you can’t deny that Harding’s fall from grace was fascinating to watch. She went from a historic figure in skating to a national disgrace, all in the span of three years. Let’s take a look at a brief outline of Harding’s rise and fall.

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To My Fellow Phonies

To my fellow phonies,

You are in good company!

I’ve been doing a lot of reflection in terms of my career path lately. This semester has been much more “involved” than the first year of my post-secondary education, and as a result of that, I’ve been carrying quite a few feelings of self-doubt.

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Maya Angelou, a commonly quoted figure in discussions about “imposter’s syndrome.” 

I can’t seem to shake this feeling that I don’t belong in my field of interest. The amount of times I’ve considered changing my major or straight up dropping out of college all together recently has been sad, and the saddest part about these considerations is that it’s not as if they’re coming from a lack of interest. I have a desire to learn and typically enjoy the classes that I take, and yet, here I am constantly questioning whether or not college and I are a compatible match.

I think a big part of it might be because I’m pursuing an arts related degree. I’m majored in film and video production, which means I’m interacting with creative minds on a daily basis. Many of my peers have been doing this since their hands were big enough to hold a camera. Combine that with the fact that most of the material has been entirely new territory for me, and you’ll have me consistently comparing myself to others and making myself feel bad in the process.

The best way I can describe the way I feel is…fraudulent. When I see talent in others, I suddenly lose any potential I have as an individual. I become afraid that others are going to see me as mediocre. I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m feeling jealous or envious of my peers, but rather I feel intense feelings of admiration for them and frustration towards myself for not meeting my standards.

Logically, I know these feelings are somewhat irrational. It seems a bit silly to be comparing myself to more experienced classmates when the whole point of school is to learn what I don’t already know. My education and somebody else’s education are entirely separate entities, so why am I continuously struggling to make that separation?

I decided to do a bit of research about why I might be having these feelings. I wanted to know if these feelings were normal or if it was genuinely time for me to consider a change in career paths. To my surprise, I was able to find quite a few people online that felt the same way that I often do. After a bit of Googling, I was able to finally put a name to what I was feeling: imposter’s syndrome.

Continue reading “To My Fellow Phonies”

Website Analysis & Content Online: Part II

The piece I’d like to write for this assignment is one that discusses that feeling of feeling like a fraud when you’re new to a field. I would say this is a pretty relevant topic for people my age, because a majority of us are still trying to figure out where we belong in the work force, and even what we’re good at in general. This is a very basic outline I have going, and I intend on expanding over the next few days

  • Why might people feel this way
    •  Feeling threatened vs. empowered by peers
    • Insecurities of skill level and fear of the road ahead
  • How to free one’s self of the feeling
    •  Attempting to focus on one’s self rather than others
    • Accepting that people learn at different paces

Website Analysis and Content Outline: Medium.com

Medium describes itself as “a place where everyone has a story to share and the best ones are delivered right to you.” It’s a website that covers a variety of topics and gives power to its users by allowing them to choose what kind of content they follow, making it the perfect hub for writers and readers alike.

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