‘I be the witch of the wood’
So, I’m a little obsessed with this film. I saw it twice in one week as part of the New Zealand International Film festival, and it’s getting an extended release from June 2, yay!
I can relate to many of its themes, in an abstract way. For instance, turning to religion out of fear, burgeoning female sexuality and feminism in general. I think this is due to my childhood experiences, feeling like an outsider with a longing to fit in and also feeling my whole life as though I have one foot in this world and another in the spiritual.
I was a devout Catholic child, not because my parents were but perhaps because I attended a Catholic school and desired to be like the other children. However it was also a way for me to channel my anxieties into something. I found out only recently that my twin sister and I both obsessively prayed every night, the same prayer, or we felt like something terrible would happen to our family and friends. Added to this a great fear of the supernatural and unknown, and the odd ghostly encounter experienced by almost everyone in my immediate family.
Next came adolescence and numerous personal tragedies. In relation to the film though, my sister and I both relate to the treatment of teenage girls as opposed to their male counterparts. The stakes are higher, expectations greater and disappointments more deeply felt by family members. There is also a vague fear and shame regarding female sexuality and boys are perhaps more free to express themselves. In retrospect, I see the missteps made by those close to me, but seeing these themes echoed in a film is validating. Not to mention the feminist themes the film addresses.
All of these things helped shape who I am and why I create the images I do. There has always been a fascination with the darker side of life; of hearing an adult conversation in the next room as a child, seeing something you are not meant to be seeing, a desire to understand but reveling in the not-knowing.