"Häxan"- REVIEW: "Häxan" is a Documentary/Horror film, directed by Benjamin Christensen, and released in 1922. The movie is part documentary, and part narrative story. The film begins with Christensen teaching us about, superstition, as practiced throughout different civilizations...it then takes a dark turn as he begins to teach us about witchcraft, and it's effect on past civiliations. It's split into 7 parts: Hell, 1488, The Trials, Torture, Sinful Thoughts, Techniques, and 1921. Christensen guides the audience through different time periods, showcasing different types of witchcraft, torture, and religion, all while making them uncomfortable by showing them unsettling images. The cinematography is excellent, with beautiful scenic shots, mixed with scarily realistic shots of his versions of Hell. The production design is magnificent, especially for 1922. The acting is top notch, and seems natural, despite the time period and odd subject matter of the film. The set design of the movie is just incredible, it is such a treat to watch...especially once he starts showing a flashback of an experience a Witch had in Hell. Though the beginning and middle of the film focus on Witchcraft, the ladder half of it is a deeply rationalistic piece of humanism, showcasing the horrors and affects of hysteria on the human brain. Also, not only is this one of history's earlist examples of a documentary, but it's also one of the only films that takes misogyny and sexual repression and forces it into the minds of the audience with an unflinchingly courageous mindset, that doesn't hold back. Overall, "Häxan" is one of history's most important, and undeniably influential films to be released...Christensen painted a meticulous picture of witchcraft, torture and religion, that is most certainly a classic, and most definitely impossible to ignore.
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