Five questions for Anna Biller, director of THE LOVE WITCH

Note this was originally publised in The Playlist during my coverage of the 20th Fantasia Film Festival. Review can be found HERE

"The first thing that you notice about Anna Biller's "The Love Witch" is how strikingly beautiful a movie it is.  Shot on 35mm its look is inspired by 1960s sexploitation and Technicolor melodramas. It is sumptuous in its eye-popping photography filled with relentless color and incredibly impressive and precise costume design."

"Biller explores female fantasy in the most diabolical of ways imaginable and gender politics are dissected in such an honest, but stinging way that it could infuriate some feminists with its truthful observations.  Biller proves to be the an auteur in the truest sense of the word: She directed, wrote, produced, edited the film and created many of the spectacular costumes and set decorations. She also, quite possibly, created a new cult classic."

I spoke to Biller recently and asked her five questions about her film, but, more importantly, what influenced her to create such an odd project

1) Where did the idea for the 'Love Witch' come about?

I’ve always been interested in movies about femmes fatales, and in creating a cinema of visual pleasure for women. The witch seemed like a perfect figure in which to contain both the stereotype of a witch as an evil and dangerous figure, and the reality of the inner life of a woman, which is rarely considered. It’s very strange to be a woman because of all the hysterical projections everyone makes about you, which can make one feel persecuted like a witch that everyone wants to burn.

2) What were some of your inspirations/influences for 'The Love Witch'?

I was inspired by some of the witch films I saw, such as BELL, BOOK AND CANDLE, ROSEMARY’S BABY, THE WICKER MAN, and HORROR HOTEL, but also by noir films such as THE LOCKET, LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN, and ANGEL FACE. Actually one of my biggest inspirations for both style and script was Hitchcock (especially the later color films), and also Jacques Démy. Carl Dreyer’s GERTRUD was the biggest inspiration in terms of theme.

3) Do you believe 'The Love Witch' is a 'feminist' film'?

I made it with feminist intent, but I’m not sure I’d call it a feminist film. It’s more a film from a feminine point of view that asks the viewer to consider female experience and consciousness.

4) Is Visual Style just as important to you as story?

Yes, film is a visual medium. So it’s not less or more important – visuals are largely the means through which you tell a story in a film (any film).

5) If you had any advice for future female filmmakers out there, what would it be?

I would say to people to make films about things they are really interested in, about things they really need to express. The technique will come through trying to express inner urgent feelings and ideas.