Karen Winther

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Häxan Review


Very Good
Also known as Witchcraft Through the Ages and The Witches, Benjamin Christensen's pioneering look at ancient Scandinavian witchcraft is impressive and genuinely disturbing. Told in seven parts (to match the seven reels of film needed), we are given a brief tour of the origins of witchcraft, then follow a more recent persecution, trial, and condemnation of a supposed Scandinavian witch. Christensen ends by trying (unsuccessfully) to tie this into modern-day hysteria by telling a short tale about a nutty kleptomaniac. It takes a certain amount of patience to get through the elaborate title cards, but Christensen's work here is groundbreaking for its era -- indeed, it is the most expensive silent, Scandinavian film ever produced.

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