Il Demonio  1963

dinsdag, 6 juni

Il Demonio  1963

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Directed by Brunello Rondi
95 minutes
In Italian with English subtitles

Some people put this in a 'folk horror' category, and it certainly has that vibe, since it involves witchcraft in a pastoral setting. But in some way it almost feels like a documentary. It follows the life of a young woman who has been condemned as being a witch by her rural community in the south of Italy near Calabria. But when we see the way she actually lives, many possibilities race through our mind—maybe she is really possessed by the devil, or perhaps she has simply gone crazy from the the strict religious environment she's been raised in. In any case, she doesn't deny any of the accusations, she actually embraces them and acts them out... to the point that she is performing black magic rituals in her home. But then when we get a closer look at how her fellow villagers think and act, along with the weird supernatural things they also believe in, you can't figure out who is to blame for what. In its own way the mentality of the religious villagers is far more frightening than any transgression our main character ever committed.

The film also implies that sexual repression can lead to hysteria... but at the same time the movie doesn't force any one argument, and leaves everything open to interpretation, which is what makes it so damn special. It is also what makes it feel so realistic, and not just another story. There can be a extremely strong case made that it is a feminist film, but even that angle isn't pushed on the viewer. The full-throttle performance by main actress Daliah Lavi is phenomenal, she throws herself in the role and really feels like a force of nature. The actress had a strange life herself, from ballet dancer to German pop singer to Israeli soldier to international film star. Some of her scenes are literally mind-boggling.

A movie—piercing as hell—about intolerance, religious hysteria, and the doomed fate of outsiders who don't fit in. As one viewer said, "it's as neo-realist as anything Rossellini did, as interiorized as Fellini, as spiritual as Pasolini..."

Datum & tijd: 

dinsdag, 6 juni, 2023 - 20:30


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  • 3-5 €
Filmhuis Cavia
Van Hallstraat 52-1
1051 HH Amsterdam


Go through the gate. Cavia is on the right hand side, above Xena Sports. Take the stairs.

Filmhuis Cavia is a counterculture cinema, (legally) founded by a squatters movement in 1983, which programs films you aren't likely to see anywhere else.


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opening times: 

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Doors always open half an hour before the film starts.