In a 15th-century village, two generations of women are ostracized as sacrilegious witches. This horror fable culminates in the vengeful frenzy of a hallucination-driven madwoman.Superstitions abound in 15th-century central Europe. Martha, a woman living in seclusion without a man, is viewed as leading a life that springs from sacrilege and tempts believers to touch the Darkness. The village priest teaches his flock that to strengthen the faith of a righteous community, all sacrilege must be cleansed.
Having spent the afternoon searching for firewood, Martha and her young daughter Albrun make their way back in snowy darkness to their log cabin in a remote mountainous forest. “It’s Twelfth Night. Watch out that Perchta doesn’t get you,” warns a passing neighbor. Legend has it that a slovenly woman who fails to leave a bowl of porridge for the pagan goddess risks disembowelment by Perchta. That night Martha and Albrun are terrorized not by Perchta but by three ominous figures clad in animal skins, brandishing torches. “You should be burned down, you witches,” they exhort.
Martha’s death from the Plague shortly thereafter is followed by happier times. Years later Albrun is a mother with a baby daughter, also named Martha. Like her mother, she has no husband. But the rumors that she is also a hagazussa, a witch-like spirit, have never abated. As she carries pails of goat milk on her back to the village, she’s taunted: “Nobody wants your rotten milk here, you ugly witch.”
When Swinda, a villager, comes to her defense and later befriends her, Albrun is hopeful that she will finally find acceptance. But Swinda’s apparent kindness was a mere ruse to lure Albrun into a bizarre sadomasochistic ritual. Deeply wounded, Albrun descends into frenzied hallucination-driven madness as she seeks revenge on the community that has mercilessly ostracized her and her mother.
Director & Screenplay Lukas Feigelfeld
Cinematography Mariel Baquiero
Cast Aleksandra Cwen, Claudia Martini, Tanja Petrovsky, Haymo Buttinger
Producer Simon Lubinski
Production Company Deutsche Film- und Fernsehakademie Berlin (DFFB)
Length 102 min
Festivals BFI London 2017, CPH PIX 2017, Sitges 2017, Fantastic Fest Austin 2017, Denver 2017, Brooklyn Horror Film Festival 2017, Ithaka Fantastic Film Festival 2017, Chicago Cinepokalypse 2017, Morbido Mexico City 2017
Awards Next Wave Features Best Pictures Fantastic Fest Austin 2017
for the cinema.