Growing up in the Slovak mountains with an equally rugged mom makes for a rocky childhood. Just ask Šarlota, who has had to put up with her mother’s insults and punches for as long as she can remember. But now, in the midst of yet another fight, she storms out of the door and sets for the horizon, determined to say zbohom (for those of you less versed in the Slovak language, ‘goodbye’) to her old life of misery. But her little sis Tamara follows her out and, in her pursuit, trips and falls from a cliff. Her lifeless body below in the canyon is the last burning image Šarlota has of the place. Until, twenty years later and after her mother’s death, she decides to go back and dig up her past. But as you know, digging is tough in mountainous soil and answers hard to get when everyone in the village is as silent as a stone. Everyone except Mira, an offbeat herbalist prone to moonbathing (“It’s good for your period!”) with whom she strikes up an instant friendship. There are few things the superstitious villagers like less though than two women bonding and stirring up trouble… Welcome to a world of witchcraft, not the evil, baby-munching kind – though the villagers might tell you otherwise – but one of a greater connection to nature, the animals, elements and spirits that surround us. A mysterious world filled with white snakes glimmering in the moonlight and pagan parties with naked bodies dancin’ in front of the flame (and probably tripping on magic mushrooms). But also, a world that is very vulnerable against the violence of man-made society… Tereza Nvotová’s second feature mixes various influences (ancient Slavic myths, VALERIE AND HER WEEK OF WONDERS, del Toro’s branch of dark and violent fairytales) into a highly singular, magical potion. Will you fall under its spell?

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