Häxan. 1922. Denmark. Written and directed by Benjamin Christensen. With Maren Pedersen, Clara Pontoppidan, Elith Pio. Silent. 105 min.
Over 100 years old—and screening here in a recent restoration by the Swedish Film Institute—Häxan is an imaginative, timeless exploration of sorcery and myth-making that juxtaposes Medieval witchcraft with the then-modern diagnosis of hysteria. “I am always terribly impressed by the nightmarish quality of the images in Christensen’s film, and the disturbing pagan energy that mixes with the rationality of the Jules Michelet–inspired narrative. Debunking superstition while reaffirming the power of its myths and images” (Guillermo del Toro).