The Barbican cinema in central London is showing on Sunday 06 May the legendary and infamous Häxan (Sweden 1922 Dir. Benjamin Christensen 104min). The film was banned in every country in Europe when first released in 1922. It was one of the first drama-documentaries, integrating fact and fiction, and Christensen's experimental style endeared it to the Surrealists. A brew of the horrific, gross, and darkly comedic, Häxan chronicles grave robbing, repressed eroticism, possessed nuns, and a satanic Sabbath, as the director asserts that the ‘witches’ of the Middle Ages suffered the same mass hysteria as did the mentally ill centuries later. Häxan retains a powerful and shocking contemporary resonance, and emerges as a moving, disturbing but ultimately liberating study of the persecution of the mentally ill, women, the poor and the elderly. Geoff Smith's (pictured) new score for Häxan further explores his pioneering approach to composition and performance that was exemplified in his recent scores for Faust and The Cabinet of Dr Caligari.
- Still at the Barbican, the venue will be screening throughout May a bevy of Polanski films, including his first foray into cinema, the Novelle Vague-y Knife in the Water (1962).
Barbican film +