The Sorceress (1956)

THE SORCERESS (1956)
aka La Sorciere, Blonde Witch
Article 2863 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 3-20-2009
Posting Date: 6-15-2009
Directed by Andre Michel
Featuring Marina Vlady, Nicole Courcel, Maurice Ronet
Country: France / Italy / Sweden

A French engineer comes to a remote village in Northern Sweden to help build a road. He encounters and falls in love with a local girl believed to be a witch by the villagers, and this creates a rift between him and the villagers and places the girl’s life in danger.

The witch in question does appear to have magical powers; she is able to magically heal wounds, cause people to trip, and, at one point, fixes a car by magic. However, the magic seems almost beside the point, and the movie could well exist without these touches. It’s essentially a tragedy, one that is brought about by the engineer’s selfishness and his inability to respect the superstitions and beliefs of the people with whom he must interact. In some ways, it’s the psychological equivalent of many a horror movie in which a man defies the superstitions of the natives only to fall victim to it; many a mummy movie is of this variety. The primary difference is that in this one, it’s not the reality of the superstition that defeats him; it’s the fact that the psychological need for people to believe in their superstitions is not something that can be callously dismissed, especially when they are willing to act on them. It’s a good movie, if a little slow to get started and a bit predictable at times, but I suspect that those drawn to it primarily for its fantastic content will be disappointed.

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