Nightsiren (Svetlonoc) Blu-ray cover

The age of reason pushes only so far as the borders of the forest; beyond those branches, veiled in mist, and within the hamlets that exist in the valleys bordered on all sides by woodland, superstition persists, a shadow of ignorance which hangs over lives, binding them and blighting them with ignorance and hostility, even violence, the forest itself a mystical but forbidden place infested with snakes and packs of wolves who watch and wait.

Her life already tainted by tragedy which drove her from her village as a child, her sister Tamara killed when she slipped at the ledge of the cliff, Šarlota Vihárová has been asked to return to oversee the disposal of the scant belongings of her mother Alžbeta, but other than handsome goat herder Rado and free-spirited herbalist Mira she is shown disdain by the locals, tainted by association with her former neighbour Otyla, accused of being a witch.

Nightsiren (Svetlonoc);

A folk horror of guilt and grudges directed by Tereza Nvotová from a script co-written with Barbora Namerova, Nightsiren (Svetlonoc) sees Šarlota (Natalia Germani) attempting to minimise her contact with the villagers but forced to interact with them regardless, trouble stemming from both Tomás (Marek Geisberg), a drunk who beats his wife and children who has no compunction about extending the range of his fists, and her friend Helena (Juliana Olhová) who blames Šarlota when her animals fall ill.

Mira (Eva Mores) also an outsider and unbound by their repressive traditions, bathing naked in the moonlight and partaking of the hallucinogenic plants she gathers, psychoactives which she shares with Šarlota, she is unafraid to take her place in nature and refuses to be tied to the expectations of the men or women of the village but like Šarlota becomes a target when two young children go missing during the Easter celebrations.

Nightsiren (Svetlonoc);

Set in a place where rumours and tales told over campfires become facts before the embers fade, where suspicion is sufficient to presume guilt, Nightsiren is both beautiful and distressing, the men of the village other than Rado (Noel Czuczor) behaving like pigs as they fight and grasp, the women accepting their lot without question and resenting those who would challenge the way things are, Šarlota a focus for their enmity, standing out defiantly in her red dress among the green leaves.

The depiction of rural Slovakia and its people recalling the setting and attitudes of Bloodlands and equally powerful and gripping as events spiral out of control, possibly driven by forces beyond nature, Arrow’s Blu-ray of Nightsiren is supported by a commentary by film critic Kat Ellinger and two video essays by festival programmer Justine Smith and author Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, Taboo and Witches and Sisterhood as well as new written material considering the film.

Nightsiren is available on Blu-ray from Arrow now

Nightsiren (Svetlonoc);



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