11/31- Don’t Deliver Us From Evil
Don’t Deliver Us From Evil is a tricky, challenging film. You could probably view it from a variety of different perspectives. Is it an exploitation movie? Or a taboo-challenging political film, ala Passolini? I took it as a satire of coming-of-age films, with the wistful experiences of youth supplanted by the main characters’ mission of unapologetic malice. What at first seem like youthful pranks quickly become aggressively malicious, with the girls focusing their acts of transgression entirely on the less fortunate- they kill a mentally challenged handyman’s beloved pet birds and set a poor farmers field on fire. In this respect, one could definitely read the film as political- in their desire to attack the norms of middle-class, Catholic society, the girls lash out at the more vulnerable lower classes. The girls are unwilling, or unaware, to confront the culture that’s spawned them, they perhaps don’t full know what they’re rebelling against. There are a number of other interesting threads that run through Don’t Deliver Us From Evil as well. The girls are aware of their sexuality, and that it holds a degree of power, but they don’t know what to do with it, which gets them in trouble (and leads to their ultimate fate). Beyond the film’s intentions or meaning, it’s a beautiful movie to watch, with several particularly arresting sequences, particularly their ceremony devoting themselves to Satan, a combination of communion, confirmation and wedding, and the last section of the film, which manages to quickly build suspense and dread and pays off apocalyptically.
Don’t Deliver Us From Evil is showing a few more times at spectacletheater this month, so if you’re in or around New York, go see it for yourself.