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Benjamin Christensen
 Cast: Benjamin Christensen
Benjamin Christensen
, Clara Pontoppidan
Clara Pontoppidan
, Astrid Holm
Astrid Holm
, Oscar Stribolt
Oscar Stribolt

Blu-ray (Black & White)

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Danish filmmaker Benjamin Christensen's obsession with bizarre lighting effects reached its apotheosis with his 1922 masterpiece Häxan. Beginning in a deceptively sedate fashion with a series of woodcuts and engravings (a technique later adopted by RKO producer Val Lewton), the film then shifts into gear with a progression of dramatic vignettes, illustrating the awesome power of witchcraft in the Middle Ages. So powerful are some of these images that even some modern viewers will avert their eyes from the screen. Though obviously a work of pure imagination, the film occasionally takes on the dimensions of a documentary, a byproduct of the extensive research done by Christensen before embarking on the project (incidentally, the director himself can be seen in the film in a dual role as Satan and the Doctor). Häxan marked a parting of the ways for Christensen and the Danish film industry; thereafter, he confined his activities to the German cinema, before answering Hollywood's call in 1928. A separate version of this film exists, with a shorter running time, retitled Witchcraft Through the Ages and released in 1968. It features narration by the legendary Beat writer William S. Burroughs (Naked Lunch) and a score by Jean-Luc Ponty.

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Product Details

Release Date: 10/15/2019
UPC: 0715515235617
Original Release: 1922
Source: Criterion Collection
Region Code: A
Presentation: [B&W]
Time: 1:45:00
Sales rank: 271

Special Features

New 2k digital restoration + music from the 1922 Danish premiere, arranged by film-music specialist Gillian B. Anderson and performed by the Czech Film Orchestra in 2001, presented in 5.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio; Audio Commentary from 2001 featuring film scholar Casper Tybjerg; Witchcraft Through the Ages (1968), a seventy-six minute version of Haxan narrated by author William S. Burroughs, with a soundtrack featuring violinist Jean-Luc Ponty; Director Benjamin Christensen's introduction to the 1941 rerlease ; Outtakes; Bibliothèque diabolique, a photographic exploration of Christensen's historical sources, created in 2001; Plus: Essays by critic Chris Fujiwara and scholar Chloe Buckley, as well as remarks on the score by Anderson

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Benjamin Christensen Doctor,Satan
Clara Pontoppidan Nun
Astrid Holm Anna
Oscar Stribolt A Doctor
Maren Pedersen Witch
William S. Burroughs Actor
Gerda Madsen Nun
Elith Pio Young Monk
Tora Teje Modern hysteric

Technical Credits
Benjamin Christensen Director,Screenwriter

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