starring Eva Mores, Iva Bittová, Jana Oľhová, Juliana Oľhová, Natalia Germani
written by Barbora Namerova, Tereza Nvotová
directed by Tereza Nvotová
The Boston Underground Film Festival runs from March 22-March 26, 2023. Click here for more info.
by Walter Chaw Tereza Nvotová's Slovakian folk horror Nightsiren joins films like Robert Eggers's The Witch (2015), Lukas Feigelfeld's Hagazussa: A Heathen's Tale (2017), Igor Legarreta's All the Moons (2020), and Goran Stolevki's You Won't Be Alone (2022): gynocentric celebrations of the power of women and the lengths to which patriarchal social systems seek, and have always sought, to suppress it. A glance at the Republican docket in the year of their asshole of a lord, 2023, finds it full of extraordinary, unseemly interest in women's bodies--their reproductive capacity, their allure to troglodytes raised to see women as objects to be owned and mastered, their perceived unfitness in a world most-of-the-way destroyed by the jealous rule of "qualified" men. What these films have in common besides a woman as their centre are the overlapping, parallel superstitions of a range of countries, each fabricated as pretense (and then codified into law) to injure women: socially, physically, mortally if necessary. What's different about Nightsiren is how the cries of "witch," the public excoriations and publicly-sanctioned mortifications, happen in the present--in the wilds of a modern Slovakia that feels ancient for its remoteness but eternal for the extent to which "difficult" women are blamed for the plague and end times promulgated by the bestial cupidity of men. Dress it up however you like, but we've only evolved the ways we pretend at civilization--and even then, not much, and not consistently. Is it progress that we've essentially stopped pretending? We are only shaved apes, so we act accordingly.
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