Ritual: A Psychomagic Story
R1 - America - Omnibus Entertainment / Film Movement
Review written by and copyright: Eric Cotenas (22nd June 2019).
The Film

Lia (House of Evil's Désirée Giorgetti) enjoys a vaguely sadomasochistic relationship with controlling older man Viktor (Blood of My Blood's Ivan Franek), both frightened and aroused by his unpredictable behavior which keeps her off balance. When she gets pregnant and he arranges for her to have an abortion, however, her inner demons stemming from events in her childhood start to vividly torment her. After a suicide attempt, Lia breaks things off with Viktor to spend the summer in the countryside at the villa of her aunt Agata (Where I've Never Lived's Anna Bonasso), ostensibly following the advice of her psychiatrist Dr. Guerrieri (Manhattan Baby's Cosimo Cinieri) to work through the trauma that lead her to associate her first menstruation with a curse brought about by her mocking one of the village's local superstitions. Although her aunt is quite successful as a local healer - noting to Lia the persuasiveness of the power of suggestion - Lia starts to experience strange events that may indeed be of a supernatural nature; that is, if the Gaia and Toni are the pixies they claim to be and not just a pair of board neighbor children, or if the woman in the hollow where Agata gathers herbs really is a baby-stealing witch and not a madwoman. Lia's reunion with Viktor who decides to join her in the country does little to anchor her to reality; and it is difficult to tell whether his interference will be any more destructive than the mysterious forces she follows intuitively towards some realization. Although stylishly mounted by directors Giulia Brazzale and Luca Immesi, the film's intellectual pretensions - drawing from the psychomagic theories of Alejandro Jodorowsky (who makes an appearance here) - are as much window dressing as the locations, production design, and costumes (are we to infer that Lia is having hallucinations when we see her wandering around in chilly and wet environments in near-transparent and skimpy clothing or is it just style for style's sake?). However much the film's imagery is meant to probe the mind of its protagonist, the ritual of Ritual remains on the surface.

Video

Shot with RED cameras and Zeiss lenses, RITUAL looks generally sharp with a cool color palette on Omnibus' single-layer, progressive, anamorphic encode, but compression artefacts pop up throughout in long shots containing fine patterns from striped shirts to architectural features.

Audio

Although import editions like the German release have 5.1 tracks, Omnibus includes two identical Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo tracks; however, the English subtitles are optional unlike some of Omnibus' other titles.
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Extras

The only extras are a pair of start-up trailers.

Overall

However much the film's imagery is meant to probe the mind of its protagonist, the ritual of Ritual remains on the surface.
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