Witching and Bitching – Las Brujas de Zugarramurdi
It’s hard to miss what this film is all about when viewing the madcap heist opening. Jesus, a toy
soldier and a kid rob a gold dealership, then speed away while holding the taxi driver they pull over
hostage. This is done with such a sense of fun and propensity for humour that it’s hard to feel any
animosity towards these anti heroes. Most of all, everything is covered by a thick blanket of
wackiness which gives all of this a very particular character…
I couldn’t put my finger on it at first. As I watched all of these characters run about the screen, I
couldn’t stop grinning from ear to ear. There was a sense of extreme nostalgia that I couldn’t track
down, but this felt like the kind of film that no one creates anymore (even though they clearly do).
Then I got it. This is Alex de la Iglesia channeling the spirit of 1990’s Robert Zemeckis, Peter
Jackson and Tim Burton all at once. A spirit that all of them seem to have mysteriously lost at the
turn of the millennium while turning to more respectable, “serious” filmmaking (well, not Tim Burton.
He just went to creating rather dull films which can only aspire to the greatness Beetlejuice, The
Nightmare Before Christmas and Edward Scissorhands grasped by the balls). This is a film were
the macabre reigns, but the macabre doesn’t necessarily signal the horrifying or foreboding, but
excitement and imagination. It’s an adult film with a playfulness reserved almost exclusively for kid
The characters here are all creations that we want to follow around on screen. We might not
identify with them completely, but goddamn are they fun. Hugo Silva plays a thief who sees nothing
wrong with taking his son along on heists, Carolina Bang is a lovesick witch who is especially
vulnerable to stereotypical female irrationalities, and Javier Botet is a witch’s offspring who
survived being eaten alive and has been imprisoned underneath a toilet ever since. You’ll be hard
pressed finding anything run of the mill here.
Against all odds, there’s also social subtext. I won’t say much since you can infer pretty much
everything by knowing that these witches want to turn the world into a matriarchal society. So yes,
female empowerment, male rationality, the strengths and weaknesses of both sexes brought to the
forefront. This isn’t the reason to watch the film, but it’s refreshingly tactless and like the rest of this
unholy offering, presented with such a sense of fun that I never felt like it was shoehorned in just to
add more meaning.
It’s wickedly fun, wickedly funny, and wickedly weird. Unless you have an aversion to
giant, well rendered CGI breasts, watch it now.