Häxan (Criterion Collection) (Blu ray) [USA]

C.C. 95

The Snarky Assassin
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Sep 10, 2014
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The Land, OHIO - U.S.A.
Release Date: October 15, 2019
Links and Prices:
Criterion: $31.96
Amazon: $27.99
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Director: Benjamin Christensen
Writer: Benjamin Christensen
Starring: Maren Pedersen, Clara Pontoppidan, Elith Pio, Oscar Stribolt, Tora Teje
  • Denmark
  • 1922
  • 105 minutes
  • Black & White
  • 1.33:1
  • Swedish
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Grave robbing, torture, possessed nuns, and a satanic Sabbath: Benjamin Christensen’s legendary silent film uses a series of dramatic vignettes to explore the scientific hypothesis that the witches of the Middle Ages suffered the same hysteria as turn-of-the-century psychiatric patients. Far from a dry dissertation on the topic, the film itself is a witches’ brew of the scary, the gross, and the darkly humorous. Christensen’s mix-and-match approach to genre anticipates gothic horror, documentary re-creation, and the essay film, making for an experience unlike anything else in the history of cinema.

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SPECIAL FEATURES
  • On the Blu-ray: New 2K digital restoration
  • On the DVD: Digital transfer
  • Music from the original Danish premiere, arranged by film-music specialist Gillian Anderson and performed by the Czech Film Orchestra in 2001, presented in 5.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio on the Blu-ray and in Dolby Digital 5.0 on the DVD
  • Audio commentary from 2001 featuring film scholar Casper Tybjerg
  • Witchcraft Through the Ages (1968), the seventy-six-minute version of Häxan, narrated by author William S. Burroughs, with a soundtrack featuring violinist Jean-Luc Ponty
  • Director Benjamin Christensen’s introduction to the 1941 rerelease
  • Short selection of outtakes
  • Bibliothèque Diabolique: a photographic exploration of Christensen’s historical sources
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Chris Fujiwara, remarks on the score by Anderson, and (Blu-ray only) an essay by scholar Chloé Germaine Buckley
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