Monday, January 17, 2011
Corrado Farina - Baba Yaga AKA Kiss Me Kill Me (1973)
Strange things have been happening to Valentina, a young and beautiful professional photographer, ever since she made the acquaintance of Baba Yaga, a mysterious older woman who gave her a lift home late one night. For one thing, Valentina has been having weird, kinky nightmares. For another, one of Valentina's cameras seems to have acquired a deadly curse. And then there was that visit to Baba Yaga's house, where Valentina discovered bizarre relics, including a dominatrix doll, and a bottomless pit in the living room. Valentina comes to realize that Baba Yaga is a witch who is out to possess her - body and soul.
Apparently inspired by a comic book, "Baba Yaga" is an unusually compelling, surreal nightmare of movie that also is vibrant with the essence of the late 1960s. The story follows pretty young fashion photographer Valentina (Isabelle De Funes) who runs afoul of seductive sorceress Baba Yaga (Carroll Baker) who proceeds to meddle in her life via a tiny doll in an S&M getup. Baba is not one to take rejection lightly, and subjects Valentina to physical and psychological torments. Well-made, hard-to-pigeonhole film, director Corrado Farina succeeds in creating moody atmosphere and a warped logic in which anything can and will happen. Funes in particular does a superb job of convincing the audience of the vacuum that's engulfing her; a young George Eastman ("Anthropophagous") fares well in the role of her disbelieving commercial-director boyfriend. The direction, which intercuts comic-book imagery with hallucinogenic dream sequences (which all seem to possess a Nazi angle), is skillful and unpretentious.