Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Angeli bianchi... angeli neri / White Angel... Black Angel / The Satanists / Witchcraft 70

This is one of a number of mondo films made by Luigi Scattini, along with Sexy magico, L' Amore primitivo, Sweden: Heaven or Hell and Questo sporco mondo meraviglioso.

Presenting the usual combination of documentary footage and reconstructions of dubious provenance and authenticity accompanied by a supercilious voice-over commentary (courtesy of Edmund Purdom, who performed similar chores on Sweden: Heaven or Hell) there's not much to be said about the film except it is impossible to take seriously yet sometimes places barriers to enjoyment at the camp level through the obligatory animal killing footage, including that of a hen and a goat in the context of a Brazilian magic ceremony where the initiate has her freshly shaven head doused in their blood and daubed with feathers.

With most of the participants in the black magic scenes either the kind that you wouldn't particularly want to see naked anyway or those that you wouldn't mind but who seem to always keep themselves strategically covered, the film's saving grace is Piero Umiliani's soundtrack.

Umiliani worked with Scattini regularly and produced some of his best and best known work, if we consider that The Muppet Show's mahna mahna theme originated in Sweden: Heaven and Hell for him, with Witchcraft 70 offering a pleasing mix of easy listening, bossa, samba and psychedelia-tinged cues that also showcase the talents of Edda Dell Orso, Nora Orlandi, I Cantori moderni and Lydia MacDonald amongst others.

Fans of Anton Lavey may also be interested to know that the brilliantly self-publicising ex-carny man and his The Church of Satan are included in one of the segments, though little insight into his philosophy is provided.