Saturday, April 11, 2009

BABA YAGA aka Kiss Me, Kill Me

Baba Yaga is a strange mix of Russian folklore, Nazi nightmares, sexy golem attacks and the eurotrash comic art of Guido Crepax. Filmed in 1973, by director/writer Corrado Farnia, the piece mixes in some nods to the revolutionary politics of the day and stars the doe-eyed Isabelle de Fumes as the unattainable photographer Valentina Russolini.

Baba Yaga is set around the lives of jet-setting Italian artists, who like bumping uglies just as much as making soap commercials with racist connotations. Farina shows a real flair for making a surreal dreamlike mix of sex, fantasy and murder. When Valentina and her suitor Arno finally get it on, their conjugal visit becomes a swirl of comic style imagerary, a homage to Crepax's work.

Swinging times, those 70s. And the choice of the track "Open Space" by Piero Umilani, helps to really push things along with a funky vibe.

A bricolage of Crepax's Valentina set to Umilani's music by CosmoCorps2000

Valentina's wanderlust leads her to a "chance" encounter with an old sapphic wench, who calls herself Baba Yaga. Valentina tries to save a lost German Shepard from being run-over, but the dog is actually a bait to trap her in a magic circle of candles on dark night at 3:30 am (note the symbolism). This is also the first point in the film that has an injection of Nazi elements.

Baba bites when she is feeling randy.

Nazi Dream Sequence # 1

the symbolic death march

Baba Yaga gets ahold of some Valentina

Farina/Crepax take some liberties with the Baba Yaga mythology, but they still point to the horrific essence that holds the original fairy tale together; a wicked old woman, who preys on younger nubile women from her power center in an old house (though not one that stands on chicken feet in the Russian forest!). The Dominatrix/Golem mixes a strange brew with the Nazi sexual symbolism and makes you wonder about the source of Baba Yaga's magic.

Baba Yaga is a solid, arty horror flic and definitely recommended.

PS - there is also a great two song demo from a doom band named Baba Yaga, available for free on the quintessential Cosmic Hearse here.

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