Häxan: witchcraft through the ages - the terrifying ancestor of The Witch

Häxan: witchcraft through the ages – the terrifying ancestor of The Witch

Lovers of satanic oddities, horrifying nuggets and nebulous antiquities, rush to Häxan: witchcraft through the ageswhich celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, but which, through some evil spell, still condenses the horrific fads of our time.

Recently brought out thanks to Potemkin enthusiasts in a magnificent restored version, Witchcraft through the ages celebrates its centenary and continues to fascinate cinephiles, curious, curious and analysts of the figure of the witch. And for good reason: this strange film, whose first title was… The Witch (hold, hold), both scientific documentary, proto-world, sociological study and pure experience of atmospheric horror, intersects more and more with the anxieties and transformations of our timeso that he still inflates his occult aura.

During his research, Benjamin Christensen would he have cooked himself with any premonitory force? Still, his work seems to precisely accompany witchcraft through the ages

hang on

Magic potion

It is commonly accepted that horror is one of the first genres in the history of cinema. From the experiments of Méliès, he thrilled the crowds. Louis Feuillade extended his premises in his serials, during the 1910s. But many like to formalize his birth in full swing of German expressionism, through two great masterpieces: Doctor Caligari’s office and Nosferatu the Vampire, released in 1920 and 1922 respectively. The horror genre developed there as a stylistic emanation. But at the same time, it asserted itself from a completely different method and under very different influences, in Denmark.

Former opera singer, then theater actor deprived of his voice, Benjamin Christensen reconverted into the seventh art as an actor, then as a director. After a few experiences in this position, he embarked on the project of his life: The Witch, either a study of witchcraft, a subject that obsesses him. For two and a half years, he researches and accumulates various objects and occult collections, while he worsens his financial problems. His wife left him in 1920. Coincidence? Probably not.

Häxan: witchcraft through the ages: photoPortraits

Haxanrenamed when a Swedish producer finally agreed to produce this ambitious, albeit atypical Danish project, born of a passion for the supernatural anda legendary collection of various esoteric artifacts (even if the fascinating work published by Potemkine for the box rather mentions the contents of a trunk), which will also be stolen in very troubled circumstances… It will not take more to tint the work with a layer of mystery.

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