Monday 2016-05-09

The Witch written and directed by Robert Eggers

Eggers spins a tale of woe from 17th century New England revolving around a small family which has been cast out of their village for the father's religious beliefs.

Just as with most popularizations of the Salem Witch trials, the crux of this film lies with people's unreliable testimony. We never are sure whether what we are shown is real, imagined, jest, or real witchcraft.

The tricksy and shifting foundation of the narrative is mirrored in the family's choice of land upon which they try to eke out a life. While depicted as a happy revelation, the field chosen is small, flat, and surrounded by late-stage forest, whereupon they attempt to grow indian maize.

This folly is reminiscent of IntoTheWild, as the initial good times are actually just people ignorantly watching their luck run out. The trees they see are not boisterous, the forest is old and fast becoming swamp; the earth they till is too wet to grow anything but stunted maize. Which is indeed what they reap.

As their savings run out, times get hard, and the family's mistakes become fatal.