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STYLE {WISE} Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages (1922)

HŠxan (1922) Filmografinr: 1922/06

Poor little hysterical witch! In the middle ages you were in conflict with the church. Now it is with the law.

Title Card: “Häxan (1922)”

We really ought to be saving this one for our own private inspiration board, but a higher wisdom has urged us to share.  We swear!

This sinisterly beautiful Style {WISE} is from the archives of cinema history. Back to the days of the silent film, where the power of imagery ruled supreme.

haxan devils

The film is the 1922 Pseudo Documentary Art-House Horror Silent Classic, Häxan (pronounced “hek-sen”). Imaginations soared through creative interpretations of alleged real-life events right up through to the early twentieth century.  The Swedish Film was directed, written, and starring Benjamin Christensen as the Devil himself.

Ultimately  comparing the hysteria of contemporary (1921) women with the behaviour of the witches in the Middle Ages; the film concludes that they are very similar. Hey, we never said a peep! {click here for more}

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Title Card: Centuries have passed and the Almighty of medieval times no longer sits in his tenth sphere.

Title Card: We no longer sit in church staring terrified at the frescoes of the devils.

Title Card: The witch no longer flies away on her broom over the rooftops.

Title Card: But isn’t superstition still rampant among us?

Title Card: Is there an obvious difference between the sorceress and her customer then and now?

Title Card: We no longer burn our old and poor. But do they not often suffer bitterly?

Title Card: And the little woman, whom we call hysterical, alone and unhappy, isn’t she still a riddle for us?

Title Card: Nowadays we detain the unhappy in a mental institution or – if she is wealthy – in a modern clinic.

Title Card: And then we will console ourselves with the notion that the mildly temperate shower of the clinic has replaced the barbaric methods of medieval times.

Häxan (1922)

haxan

What’s most fascinating is the way they amp up the already iconic images we have in our mind when we turn our thoughts to the idea of witchcraft, the frenzy of the medieval times, and the rugged decay of the Medieval Times. All these elements are intensified and, almost glamourized, for the silver screen in a way only the 1920s could make happen.

Wouldn’t it be great to  see more powerful imagery like this come to the forefront today, while still staying beautiful ? Perhaps some of you beauties will find some inspiration to take with you after your visit here with The Eye of Faith.

haxen

haxan-1

Witchcraft through the Ages (1922 Sweden) aka Haxan Documentary

Häxan: Witchcraft through the ages, is a true experience for the eyes and ears,  with music beautifully composed by Emil Reesen.

Seemingly a silent horror sensation, but truly a documentation of modern man.

So much faith is thrown into the blind eyes of God, as fellow man takes judgement and punishment upon himself.

1922 Haxan - Witchcraft through the ages - La brujeria a traves de los tiempos (foto) 02

Just a little something-something to get those juices flowing!

Until we meet again?

{theEye}

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Magic Movie Moments: Powell + Pressburger’s “Black Narcissus”

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“I don’t want to go away. I want to stay here like this for the rest of my life…”

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Michael Powell + Emeric Pressburger’s 1947 film Black Narcissus is crammed full of magic movie moments – moments unlike any other you are bound to see in any other film.

Moments where you would swear, instead of a movie, you might actually have stumbled upon an epic painting come to life, or perhaps you caught yourself awake in a dream.

The film is set high in the cliffs of the Himalayan mountains where a group of five nuns have sequestered themselves to begin an order in this strange new land. Nothing ever seems to go quite as planned for these seeker’s of God who exhibit more than their true colors in their time spent trying to maintain and repair their adapted home.

It is a story of human will and sacrifice (as most stories with nuns are), as well as examining the cultures of Christianity, and Western beliefs and attitudes. The film also explores spirituality (as most stories with nus do) to a large extent, and the various ways in which almost supernatural forces come to play in our daily lives.

Despite being over 60 years old, the film’s unconventional themes and characters carry it straight into the 21st Century and beyond. In fact, we’d be very lucky to receive a film with as much intellect, suspense, and overall beauty in this day and age…Powell + Pressburger never ceases to impress me, but there definitely is an undeniable touch of magic and mystery that make this film an absolute great.

Jack Cardiff’s dynamic cinematography is definitely a major contributing factor to the film’s devastating beauty. Like a canvas, Cardiff paints every frame with an attention to detail only a true artist could bring, upping the ante for the film altogether. As much as the light paints the scene, Cardiff uses shadow and color to exquisite effect.

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“There’s something in the atmosphere that makes everything exaggerated…”

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Enjoy this clip of the film’s epic climax if you dare…and don’t be afraid of the haunted feeling you may achieve. It’s actually quite refreshing.

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We were lucky enough to catch this on TCM‘s queue of timeless and obscure movie classics, but you can also find Powell + Pressburger’s Black Narcissus available on DVD & Blu-Ray through the Criterion Collection packed full of amazing extras. Check it out today.

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