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  • What a wonderful surprise. Little seen and even less commented upon I went into this with hope but little expectation. I knew it was about a supposed witch transported from her burning some 350 years before right into the present day and understood there was likely to be some nudity along the way. This is an amazingly proficient film that manages to switch back and forth those 350 without any device at all. Fantastic looking and with some truly wonderful scenes. The most impressive of all is a depiction of a witches sabbath, fire circle and all. Quite bewitching, in fact and plays more like a modern dance routine. Ah but here's the rub. This is no nobody director, Marco Bellocchio is still working, unheard of to me, but seemingly much admired and making award nominated films. I discover I have already seen one, Devil in the Flesh and have had to order two more. Beatrice Dalle is stunning in the lead but hardly surprising as this is the star of Betty Blue, Inside and dozens more. Back to the fire circle and that sabbath routine - the male lead is Daniele Ezralow and although he hasn't done so much more acting, he was mainly known as a choreographer and no wonder that sequence was like some modern ballet, he choreographed it (uncredited). Funny what you stumble across at film fairs, yet another director's oeuvre to explore.
  • "La visione del Sabba" is a surrealistic tale about witchery , women , sexual desire and satisfaction . It tells the story of a young beautiful woman who has been accused of attempted murder . She is kept in a mental hospital because she claims to be a witch from the 17th century who has been waiting several centuries for the man worthy of taking away her virginity . The case is given to a young psychiatrist who soon becomes fascinated with her world of pagan pleasures and dreams . After the sight of the "Sabbath" during one of these visions , he completely falls under her witchcraft and voluntarily becomes the object of her satisfaction .

    What is an interesting but vague and limited subject turns into a watchable film only thanks to Bellocchio's visual talent . The use of the metaphor of witchery to describe the sexual influence ( and power ) that women are able to exert on men it is a provocative reflection about the conventional roles in our society . But as a subject it's somehow like a candle that burns too fast and long before the end of the film it is extinguished . My impression is that the screenplay was not rich enough of ideas and twists and that this fact forced the director to over-extend many sequences , losing himself too often in a self-pleasing and sterile aesthetic ecstasy . Too often in this "Sabbath"-film we feel like the only ones who are truly having fun are the actors and the director .

    Overall , it is a good provocative reflection about the power of women and how their desires and needs can make the world change . It is also a nice tale about witchery and an hymn to the pleasures of life . But it becomes too rapidly short of breath , and even through some well-directed scenes , in the second half of the story we feel like we're watching the same concept illustrated over and over again . Bellocchio showed us that he can do much better than this .