LE DESTIN EXECRABLE DE GUILLEMETTE BABIN (1948)
aka Guillemette Babin
Article 4813 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Guillaume Radot
Featuring Helena Bossis, Michel Barbey, Germain Kerjean
What it is: Witch drama
A young woman’s mother is caught and executed for witchcraft. The woman herself finds, as she grows older, that the call of witchcraft is in her blood as well.
My copy of this movie is in French without English subtitles, so I am no doubt missing certain subtleties in the movie. However, much of the movie is told visually, and if you go in armed with a certain amount of info about the subject matter, it isn’t really all that difficult to follow. Granted, the story is familiar enough; I’ve seen a few other movies that tell similar stories. The most surprising thing about this one is that the witchcraft seems real; there are sequences in which a woman disappears into mid air, a man is turned into a donkey, and a woman’s scars magically heal themselves. There’s also a black mass sequence that made the movie rather controversial for its time, as it was far more explicit than audiences of the time were used to seeing. All in all, I found the movie interesting enough, but mostly rather ordinary, but the fact that I don’t understand French means that this evaluation should be taken with a grain of salt.