Woldwide success for Häxan!
Torture chambers. Possessed nuns. Babies being sacrificed. A devil being played by the director himself. The cult classic and newly digitized silent film Häxan is directed by Benjamin Christensen and continues to thrive in cinemas worldwide. This year the movie also turns a hundred years old.
During the anniversary year 2022 Häxan has been shown in several countries including France, Brazil, Austria, Romania, and Estonia. The victory train now continues to Denmark, Argentina, and the UK.
At the film's premiere in 1922 the reception was mixed. Häxan was a worldwide success - but was censored in many countries and banned in the United States. By then Swedish Film Industry (SF) had financed the most expensive Scandinavian silent film in history, which was shot in a Danish studio and took three years to complete. The film's advanced naturalism even led SF to self-censor the film.
Critic or not, there's no denying the unique character and cinematic originality of Häxan. Read more about the film at the Swedish Film Database.
Today all scenes are in place and the film was digitally restored by the Film Institute in 2016. Below you can see the before and after result (raw scanned film on the left and digital restored footage on the right). If you are more curious about the film's digitization process, you can read lighting designer Joakim Högberg's own words about the process. The text is in Swedish. Writer: Chrisopher Mair.
Published 01 November 2022