While I was looking through titles to see what I’d be interested in watching/reviewing this week, I came across Hagazussa and thought it had my name written all over it. Potential witchcraft going on the Austrian Alp set in the 1400s? Yes, please!
Albrun (Aleksandra Cwen), a woman who tends to goats and is raising a baby daughter, is constantly tormented by the other villagers. She has rocks thrown at her, is called a witch, and is basically shunned by the others. Her mother endured the same types of harassment. Albrun is just trying to keep to herself and make a living by selling her goat’s milk but the pressure of persecution begins to get to her. She begins seeing and hearing things in the forest. Is it really there or is it her imagination. Is she really a witch or is the paranoia of the village just becoming too much to bear? Things begin spiraling out of control when one of the village women befriends Albrun.
I wish I could’ve seen this in the theatre this weekend instead of on my computer because this movie needs to be seen on a big screen with the sound turned way up. I didn’t get the sense of dread I know is there by watching it in my living room with the head phones on. This movie is really gorgeous. There’s a stillness to it that lends itself to almost looking “painterly”. Cwen is wonderful as Albrun. Because the film is almost devoid of dialogue, Cwen has the tough task of portraying her torment through body language and facial expressions alone. The music is amazing and right from the start, gets you in the mood for what is to come. You can feel that shit in your chest.
A languid as the movies feels (it’s set in four separate sections), this still is a horror movie and some pretty brutal shit goes down, make no mistake. There are several disturbing images that might be very unsettling to some. I wouldn’t hesitate recommending this, though. Hagazussa is definitely one worth checking out when it comes to a theatre near you.
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