Anna Biller Filmmaker and Author



Shot and designed with admirably compulsive attention to tone and composition, “The Love Witch,” Ms. Biller’s second feature, is a hothouse filled with deadly and seductive blooms. The fear of female sexuality has been a staple of horror movies forever, but “The Love Witch” does more than simply subvert or parody the erotic underpinnings of the genre. Ms. Biller’s movie, like its heroine, presents a fascinating, perfectly composed, brightly colored surface. What’s underneath is marvelously dark, like love itself. –A.O. Scott


Sex, death, Satanic rituals, God-level costume design, and cinema’s greatest tampon joke ensue, as Biller spins an arch but hyper-sincere story about the true price of patriarchy. A spellbinding homage to old pulp paperbacks and the Technicolor melodramas of the 1960s, Anna Biller’s THE LOVE WITCH is a throwback that’s told with the kind of perverse conviction and studied expertise that would make Quentin Tarantino blush. –David Ehrlich


A metaphysical astonishment. The costumes and furnishings, Biller’s own handmade versions of the era’s candy-coated extravagances, are as exquisitely arch and theatrical as the performances and the action, which—for all their comic exaggeration—echo with an uncanny symbolic power. –Richard Brody


Biller’s sharp film stands in stark contrast to the complacency and crushing safeness of the vast majority of independent films made in the U.S. Shot in 35mm, her film displays a technical mastery—framing, color, playing with focus—that is glorious to behold. -Violet Lucca


The Love Witch is a sort of retro throwback modeled on the stylized European exploitation films of the 1960s. Biller shot it, ravishingly, on 35mm and furnished every frame with uncanny precision; the result really could pass as a relic of the era. That it's quite funny and charming seems almost beside the point. I'm keen to watch it again just to luxuriate in it. -Calum Marsh


No film I’ve seen in recent times has been as startling, empowering, hilarious and wholly enjoyable to watch as Anna Biller’s masterpiece The Love Witch. With her mastery of the sensuality of cinema, her grasp of the power of color, light and sound, and her ability to pierce the core of the interior female space – even if all she finds in her character is bewildering emptiness – Anna Biller is one of the most exciting directors in decades. –Allison Anders


Just about the only filmmakers who have previously attained this level of control over their visions are Russ Meyer and Wes Anderson; the fact that The Love Witch evokes both their self-enclosed universes, but with a uniquely female viewpoint, suggest how fresh and strange Biller’s imagination is. Biller does more than resurrect a chic, cool bygone film style. She counters many of the underlying assumptions of the male-directed exploitation films she evokes, even as Elaine is ultimately shown to be a genuine monster. –Kim Newman


Destined to be a cult classic, this sophomore effort by Anna Biller (Viva) is a heady throwback to the American and European sexploitation horror films of the late '60s and early '70s. Shot in glorious 35mm and featuring a vibrant color palette that makes Technicolor seem like sepia, The Love Witch is an expertly executed homage that works brilliantly on its own original terms. Suffusing its genre conventions with sly feminist commentary on the relations between the sexes, the pic offers as much for the mind as the eye, and that's saying something. –Frank Scheck


L.A. film-maker Anna Biller achieves an ecstasy of artificiality in this amazing retro fantasy horror, delivered with absolute conviction. It’s drenched in the Technicolor 60s: there are touches of Italian horror, Hammer and late Hitchcock. Biller devises a feminine sensibility for exploitation to match the macho connoisseurship of Tarantino or Rodriguez. –Peter Bradshaw


This is a fiercely intelligent, visionary work hiding in the skin of a trashy exploitation movie bauble and it firmly locks-in Biller in as one of the most exciting filmmakers alive. –Chris Alexander


What Biller manages to accomplish with The Love Witch is nothing short of astonishing — not only in the painstaking recreation of the mood, sets and look of the films she’s referencing, but in how she spiritually re-appropriates that decorative world into something radical and new. –Justine A. Smith


Anna Biller is an auteur in the term’s most potent incarnation. The Love Witch is nothing less than a tour de force of 21st century queer, feminist film. But this is a multi-faceted gem, and The Love Witch can simply be enjoyed as a '70s gothic romp – riotously funny, overwrought, dramatic and full of suspense. –Rachel Bowles


Anna Biller [has] quickly established herself as one of the most exciting filmmakers of the past decade. Biller meticulously crafts her movies with such care that it would make Wes Anderson weep. –Josh Kupecki


Biller proves to be an auteur in the truest sense of the word. She also, quite possibly, has created a new cult classic. –Jordan Ruimy



“I’m Actually Trying to Create a Film for Women”: Anna Biller on The Love Witch

Over the last decade, Los Angeles-based film artist Anna Biller has eked out a small but fervid following; watching her films is like undergoing hypnosis by means of feng shui, wherein the viewer is lulled into a stilted, cheeky and brilliantly manicured simulacra of golden-era Hollywood staging, blocking and delivery. However indebted these forms are to their masculinist forebears, Biller is not content to be considered a pastiche artist: in the below discussion she concedes that her choices are guided by what gives her cinephilic pleasure, although — because? — the feminist interrogations of her work are impossible to ignore. [more]


Why We're Under the Spell of Sultry New Film The Love Witch

Anna Biller makes films that can kill you with one look. Nine years ago, her movie Viva, a tale of promiscuity in 1970s Los Angeles suburbia, earned her a reputation as a starlet of underground Hollywood. The film is blessed by the striking, celluloid beauty of 35mm, which is perfectly offset against the kitsch costumes of Biller’s characters and the vivid artwork that adorns the walls of their abodes. It should come as no surprise then that her sophomore feature The Love Witch gets a similarly stylish treatment. Set in a strangely ambiguous era, it toys with ideas of sexual prowess and feminist ideals that feel contemporary, but are delivered under a fantastical Technicolor spotlight. Ahead of The Love Witch’s Discovery screening at FrightFest 2016, Biller spoke to AnOther about how she created a twisted, yet intelligent piece of statement cinema. [more] -Douglas Greenwood


CLOTHES MINDED The psychedelic costumes in "The Love Witch" prove that not all witches have to wear black

When I first saw the trailer for The Love Witch, my jaw-dropped at the gorgeously vibrant, highly-stylized visuals. The scenes looked incredibly authentic, as though they were ripped straight out of old Technicolor films from the 1960s. Today, we are focusing solely on the aesthetics, namely the costume design. The film’s colorful costumes are set against a vivid set design, adding a whole different level of enchantment to Elaine’s spells and potions. We are so used to seeing witches either portrayed as ugly (Hocus Pocus), or incredibly beautiful (but solely wearing head-to-toe black, like in American Horror Story: Coven.) Elaine’s sartorial style is the opposite of the typical cinematic witch — a psychedelic, mystical rainbow. She’s Morticia Addams meets Mary Quant. [more]


An Interview and List with Filmmaker Anna Biller

In June, Grimoire made a pilgrimage to the Chicago Underground Film Festival, where we attended a showing of Anna Biller’s supernatural exploitation film The Love Witch. We were utterly captivated. Below find our conversation with Biller about the film as well as a catalog of her influences. [more]


Interview with Katie Rife

Coming from a background as a visual artist, writer-director Anna Biller makes films that, on one level, can be experienced as pure cinema. But while the aesthetics are undoubtedly pleasurable, underneath the meticulously crafted design of Biller’s films lie sharp satirical observations about the relationships between men and women. We spoke to Biller over the phone just days before The Love Witch’s home video release, where she discussed at length common misconceptions about her work, the deeply personal, feminist message of The Love Witch, and the commitment to classic cinema technique that drives her art. [more]