Two years after we met Mihaela Minca and her witch clan—considered to be among the most powerful witches in the world—we go back to Romania to witness the marriage of her son Antonio to his cousin Beatrice, a young witch herself.
Antonio's mother Mihaela chose Beatrice as her son's bride when Beatrice was only seven years old because she could sense that their marriage would increase Beatrice's witch powers, thereby strengthening the witch family's bloodline. "It is really important for the future daughter-in-law to be part of the same cast [of witches], to be a relative," says Mihaela about her decision to choose Beatrice as her son's bride, "so she can take the name, the heritage, and the family's future forward." Though she decided that her son would marry Beatrice when the two were just seven years old, she didn't enforce the marriage until now. Mihaela was just 13 herself when her parents married her off. "It wasn't easy," she says. "Given what I've been through, I have decided, together with my husband, that our girls will go to high school, will study, and after the age of 18 we will get every single one of them married." Beatrice, however, did not attend high school. Instead, she dropped out of school to focus on her witchcraft.
Broadly's Milène Larsson visits the Mincas in Romania days before the wedding to witness the preparation and rituals that go into planning a lavish traditional witch wedding. Ahead of the big day, Milène attends Beatrice's gown fitting (where the final touches are made on her bejeweled ballgown that weighs almost as much as her); discusses the concept of arranged marriage with Antonio at his suit fitting; and attends a transactional meeting between the couple's parents during which Mihaela and her husband give Beatrice's parents tens of thousands of US dollars, or, as Mihaela put it, "pay the money for the daughter-in-law."
Throughout her visit, Milène tries to ask Beatrice about her feelings towards Antonio and their arranged marriage, but struggles to get her to answer honestly. Despite Beatrice's timid hesitance, the preparation for the wedding continues as planned with a ritual led by Mihaela initiating Beatrice into her witch clan. With her daughters and soon to be daughter-in-law crowded around a table topped with dolls, candles, crosses, and herbs, Mihaela recites, "May the evil spirits go away. May Beatrice dominate them, cast them away and send them off. May the three powers of our spells be united, and give Beatrice power, fame, and recognition so she can help others and cast away evil spirits forever."
"May the three powers of our spells be united, and give Beatrice power, fame, and recognition so she can help others and cast away evil spirits forever."
On the wedding day, the party begins while Antonio gets dressed and groomed as his family dances around him and a professional singer praises their witch clan in song. Then a lavish parade featuring Antonio, his family, and professional dancers heads towards Beatrice's house where a crowd of cameras surrounds the couple. Finally the parade, now with the bride and her wedding party, heads to the actual wedding venue. There they're met with a glass stage created atop a pool where they will be wed by Christian Orthodox priests. Once the priests have left the building, Mihaela—who doesn't exactly care if the priests don't approve of her witchcraft—begins her occult ceremony asking the spirits to grant Beatrice happiness, power, and love.
The wedding goes according to Mihaela's plans and she seems content that the marriage has increased her family's power as witches. Unfortunately, when Mihaela conducts what she calls the "supreme test," a test that can only be carried out on the night before the couple consummates their marriage, the spirits alert her that Beatrice has no actual powers. The marriage must end.
Mihaela is disappointed, but she wastes no time. "Now," she says, "I will start looking for another wife for my son."