This portmanteau film is a mixture of brilliance and bollocks in equal measure. Five stories linked together by the face of Italian cinema Silvana Mangano and five directors of international reputation. From Visconti The Witch Burned Alive comes a film about an actress and her struggle with life. Civic Sense from Bolognini is a satire on societal expectation. The Earth Seen From The Moon from Pasolini is a swipe at conformity. Rosso makes The Sicilian Wife a tale of revenge. The final film from De Sica An Evening Like The Others is a comic book tale bar none.
Leave it to Arrow and its innocuous Academy label to do something that is rather expected from a label that has hovered up some valuable and easily captured content. They started out to open up films from the cannon of masters that have been hidden from viewer but not Wikipedia and now seem to want to layer their bank balance before the bubble pops. This film takes the popular manifesto of European cinema, the portmanteau structure. Which has the helpful situation of being cheap, have stars able to commit to three days for the shoot and most importantly of all..Helping the audience to see five very famous and well known film makers at the same time as it would to watch one whole film…by one director. So now you can see say directors like De Sica and Visconti or Pasolini, who almost every film fan has consumed and often taken an opinion against what they have seen (over rated not to me but to many and like Nolan or Kubrick, suffer re evaluation).
The Witches is a film of two halves. The first is the novelty aspect as discussed above, that empties very quickly from it as you watch. So Pasolini is really on form with a lovely rather clever swipe at societal situation. De Sica’s film is also very good and makes a valid point. It also defines that if you buy this for say a single sections, you will be very disappointed. Though you have the chance to explore other film makers, you find that its so short a chance and so empty a moment that it sores it.
SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS
- Brand new 2K restoration from original film elements produced by Arrow Films exclusively for this release
- High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
- Original Italian mono audio (uncompressed LPCM)
- Brand-new audio commentary by film critic and novelist Tim Lucas
- Interview with actor Ninetto Davoli, recorded exclusively for this release
- English-language version of Vittorio De Sica s episode, An Evening Like the Others, starring Clint Eastwood
- Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys
- FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Pasquale Iannone and Kat Ellinger