Šarlota returns home decades after losing her sister in an accident, only to be faced by the brutal village patriarchy and accusations of witchcraft.
Twenty years after a tragic accident involving her sister, Šarlota returns to her remote mountain hometown in Slovakia to claim an inheritance left by her dead mother. Upon her arrival, she discovers that her mother’s house has burned to the ground. Without a place to stay, she takes refuge in her former neighbor’s abandoned cabin. Šarlota slowly reconnects with the villagers and befriends Mira, a young woman educated in herbalism who lives close to the edge of the forest. As she pieces together what happened after she ran away, Šarlota is confronted by the brutal misogyny and patriarchy of the superstitious locals who decide that Šarlota must be a witch based on her behavior. Hot on the heels of its Best Picture win in the Cineasti del Presente Competition at the Locarno Film Festival in August, NIGHTSIREN is an amazing movie about a present-day society that continues to trivialize aggression and misogyny. By combining superstition and patriarchy and infusing subtle genre elements, director Tereza Nvotová tells a powerful story about the acceptance of violence by the village women who perpetually stand by their abusive husbands, having never known anything else. The women find reassurance in the patriarchal order and are threatened by the destabilizing effect these two young, libertine women have on their community, ultimately turning to superstition to make sense of their behavior. From the story, the cinematography, the art design, to the fantastic casting, Nvotová’s film is a perfect gem that should only be fully experienced on the big screen. (ANNICK MAHNERT)
Slovakia, Czech Republic