Five shorts on the roles of women in 1960’s Italy by five very different Italian directors.
“The Witches” is a collection of five vignettes on women’s roles in society. Arrow Films recently released this restored 2K version for Blu-Ray. It was directed by five iconic Italian directors: Luchino Visconti, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Franco Rossi, Vittorio De Sica, and Mauro Bolognini. The films all star Italian Movie star Silvana Mangano and even features a brief appearance from Clint Eastwood. Apparently, Eastwood took a Ferrari as part of his payment stating his agent, “couldn’t get 10% of a car.”
The first vignette is titled, “Witch Burned Alive,” directed by Luchino Visconti. The Film opens up in a snowy small town on the Alps and deals with a fading Film star’s issues with female rivalries and toxic masculinity. It is a mostly forgettable story but I did love seeing the all glass encased Helicopter. The second short is titled “Civic Sense” and it is directed by Mauro Bolognini. It centers on a woman, played again by Mangano, who comes across an accident victim and insists on driving him to the hospital. It’s a very comical tale of her making his situation almost worse with her erratic driving and going in wrong directions. It was a mostly funny affair and had some great imagery of Mangano driving a striking red fiat around Rome’s ancient streets.
The third vignette is “The Earth from the Moon” and was directed by the legendary surrealist Pier Paolo Pasolini. It is an absurdly ridiculous tale of a very recently widowed father and son looking for a new matriarch. They pursue women with the tact and subtlety of a hand grenade. The colors bombastically pop on the screen like the actors in the lead roles but I felt the comedy lacking and a bit too broad for my taste.
The next short directed by Franco Rossi’s opens on Mangano character jabbing a Voodoo doll and focuses on blood feuds and vendettas in a small Sicilian village. This was my favorite short since it was succinct and cynical. Vitorrio De Sica helms the last short and it covers Mangano and her marriage to Clint Eastwood’s character. Eastwood is clearly dubbed since I’m sure his Italian wasn’t polished. It deals with the fantasies and realities of being married but like most of the film, it feels dated more than classic.
Now available on a Special Edition Blu-ray from Arrow Video