Monday, September 07, 2009

Left Field Cinema: Haxan - Witchcraft Through The Ages

Hidden Classics: Haxan - Witchcraft Through The Ages
by Mike Dawson
Left Field Cinema

Haxan: Witchcraft Through The Ages is a part documentary, part dramatisation about the nature of witch craft, and of those who sought to destroy it. Moving at different stages through the age of man it addresses different notions of the “Witch”, what they were believed to be capable of, and how they operated.

The more interesting areas in the film examine those who would persecute the so-called “witches” through either genuine religious intolerance and fear, or a corrupt patriarchal dominance; relishing the opportunity to stamp out any independent femininity under the guise of hunting for minions of Satan. One particularly impressive section sees a household of woman calling the local monks (or judges in this case) to take an elderly woman away from their home. The old woman is tortured into confessing her witch craft, then subsequently confesses that the woman who implicated her are her fellow witches as well – then naturally all the other woman are executed despite the obvious retaliatory motivation for the deception. The film also examines how the folklore had come to fruition. Still images of various cultures ideas of hell, heaven, and the celestial bodies are presented until the eventual creation of the “Witch” is revealed.

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