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The Spell

The title’s translation is based on the listing on IMDB


Spell 3.jpg

The Back Story

By Amir Faress • 12/25/19

The film’s basic premise hardly makes sense.


Snatched on the night of her wedding by the vengeful servant of the mansion who harbors a grudge against the family of the groom (the Prince) for having castrated him as a child, the “Madam” has spent the last five years confined to the basement. The servant has since gone to great lengths to prove his loyalty to the Prince, who, feeling abandoned, now seriously contemplates bequeathing him the mansion. The servant is meanwhile gradually poisoning the Prince so that he would die soon after the bequeathal. So far everything makes sense, but it all goes haywire from here.


It turns out that the Madam is also poisoning the servant a few drops at a time, with the eventual goal of killing him. “When the Prince dies, so will he [the servant,]” the Madam summarizes her plan, “That day I will be released.” The logistics of this scheme gives one pause. Is she gambling on the poisoned servant dying during one of his brief daily visits to the basement? Getting in and out of the basement requires a code, which means the Madam cannot get out if the servant dies inside the basement. The scheme makes even less sense if the servant were to die outside the basement – the more likely scenario. If he were to die outside, the Madam would certainly perish in the basement. As she points out elsewhere in the film, “He’s the only one who knows the way [out.] I fear him being late a day or two.” On the one hand, the Madam is poisoning the servant hoping she will be released upon his death while, on the other hand, admitting she cannot make it out without his assistance.

To further add to the confusion, the Madam has actually got her hands on a map bearing the exit code. Though she has not yet put it to test, it seems like a sure bet. The only thing stopping her is her trepidation over having to encounter the Prince – and the world at large – as she hardly resembles the youthful bride she was years ago. In her own words, “I do not have the strength to encounter the Prince. I do not have the strength to deal with the world, which not having seen me youthful, will see me old.”

Two points are in order here. Firstly, it is hard to believe that the Madam would choose to stay in the basement knowing she is in effect electing not to alert the Prince of his imminent death by the servant. Secondly, if the only thing stopping the Madam from utilizing the map is her distress over having to encounter people after five years of confinement, why then is she going through the trouble of gradually poisoning the servant so to find freedom upon his death?

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