Tuesday, 5 January 2016


MYSTICS IN BALI, d. H. Tjut Djalil (1981)

A young woman who wants to write a book about black magic exchanges six bottles of blood for an apprenticeship with a disfigured local witch. She learns how to turn into a pig, a snake and a ball of fire on a piece of wire. She also finds out how to detach her head and vital organs from her body and then fly around the countryside looking for new born babies to bite. When she decides she's learned enough, she tries to withdraw from the arrangement, but the witch has other ideas. 

It's a jaw-dropping film, one of the best things I've seen in years. Some of the optical effects are terrible, but who cares? It's a work of stupendous imagination, and tremendous fun. Clearly too close to the bone, it was originally banned in Indonesia. 

Beware: this film is not for those with a low tolerance for cackling.

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