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The Vanquishing of the Witch Baba Yaga

Directed by Jessica Oreck
United States, 2014
Documentary, Avant-Garde


A descent into Eastern Europe’s haunted woodlands uncovers the secrets, fairy tales, and bloody histories that shape our understanding of man’s place in nature.

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The Vanquishing of the Witch Baba Yaga Directed by Jessica Oreck
It’s an essay film in the mode of the late, great Chris Marker, as interested in the everyday poeticism of a street scene or people just going about their business as it is in making subtle philosophical connections between a range of disparate topics and ideas. Director Jessica Oreck never pushes too hard to make the comparisons between fanciful fiction and hardscrabble reality too obvious, allowing plenty of room to manoeuvre when it comes to interpretation.
September 30, 2016
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Oreck conveys much of this work through a poetic style: the gorgeous 16mm footage by Sean Price Williams (“Heaven Knows What,” “Listen Up Philip”) captures the landscapes of Poland and Ukraine, juxtaposing them against alienating cinder block homes in the cities.
November 11, 2014
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Experimental synth music combines with crystalline Super 16mm visuals to produce the sense of wonder and excitement that the crew must have felt as further strands of the film revealed themselves… The Vanquishing is the filmmaker’s most accomplished work thus far, mixing quotation (poetry, music, and myth) with an outsider’s perspective to capture the enigmatic, subliminal traits of a culture more successfully and elegantly than her previous efforts.
November 05, 2014
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