Witching & Bitching

downloadPicked by pure chance Witching & Bitching took full advantage of the blank slate I went in as. I was very impressed with this film, although it does have some tiny flaws. But only tiny ones. Mostly I have nothing but praise for this film, as like I said I’m impressed and I’m not the only one. With Witching & Bitching or Las brujas de Zugarramurdi winning eight awards at the 28th Goya Awards. Most being awards for the films technical achievements. All of which Witching & Bitching most certainly earned. Mostly what I loved about this film as the Dark Comedy aspects, while the repeated reminders that the films about gender politics being what I loved least.

Las brujas de Zugarramurdi aka Witching & Bitching opens with three witches Graciana (Carmen Maura),  Maritxu (Terele Pavez) and Eva (Carolina Bang) reading the future. Which comes off as bit crazy with Christ, a green man, a sponge a taxi and the chosen one all being referenced. We then get introduced to Jose (Hugo Silva), who while dressed as Christ robs a pawn shop/gold store with his ten-year old son Sergio (Gabriel Angel Delgado). They are joined during the robbery by their accomplice Tony (Mario Casas), who’s painted and dressed up as a green army man. Though after he enters the store the robbery quickly turns south, forcing the three men to flee with their stolen loot. But Tony’s girlfriend leaves them behind, taking off alone in the getaway car. So they jump into a taxi driven by Manuel (Jaime Ordonez) and force him to drive them to France. On the way the stuff the man who was in the taxi before them in the trunk. While fleeing to France, Jose’s ex-wife Silvia (Macarena Gomez) is contacted by police investigators Pacheco (Secun de la Rosa) and his partner Calvo (Pepon Nieto), who tell her about her son’s involvement in the robbery and even show her security footage. She handles the information about as well as one would expect. Silvia runs from the police station, jumps in her car and heads after them tracking her son’s phone. Back with Jose and the others, having grown tired and hungry, they stop at a restaurant run by Maritxu, where they learn that they are near the boarder. Which is just past the nearby town of Zugarramurdi, a town inhabited by witches, according to Manuel. After being thoroughly creeped out they jump back in the taxi and head for the border. On the way, in their haste they hit Maritxu who has somehow gotten ahead of them. They remove a necklace of keys from her neck before she disappears.  Thoroughly freaked out they jump back into the car and head out reaching the town. Where they encounter Graciana, who is looking for her mother Maritxu and guilt the men into driving her home. When they arrive, they meet Eva and given a tour of the home, with Jose quickly losing track of his son Sergio. After managing to break away from Eva he eventually finds him with the aid of Graciana, stuffed in an oven being cooked by Maritxu. Jose frees his son and the group flees the house and in the processes, setting down the bag of stolen rings. Once they reach the boarder Jose realizes he’s left the ring behind forcing the men to return to the house of witches…

This film covers a lot of ground and makes good use of the time it does. The characters are fairly well fleshed out, using time spent in the taxi to develop characters. The least fleshed out are actually the witches which is kind of sad, but even they get plenty with rituals, dinners and bits of their family history sprinkled throughout.

I would be lying if I said anything but Carolina Bang was my favorite part. While her character has some strange character development, and the job she does is fantastic and I couldn’t be happier with the job she did.

Like I said earlier, the battle of the sex’s angle got old for me very fast. I do like the relationship between Jose, Sergio and Silvia. It feels like a real relationship and does try to down play the situation. Initially. All the women are witches/evil, and all of them are buffoons/idiots. The worst part is that the subject is focal, but is never given proper resolution in my opinion.

Final thoughts, there’s a lot going on in this movie. Heck, there are whole characters I didn’t cover that are amazing. Luismi, Eva’s brother, played by Javier Botet is fantastic and I wish his character didn’t come on so close to the end. The effects are fun, though a bit cheesy at times and kept reminding me of The Witches. Overall this is a very fun film, that gets a little redundant but stays fun and was well worth the time spent. 9/10

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