Archive for March 8th, 2010

by Sam Juliano

     The entire weekend was spent cleaning the house for the Oscar party, and today I was pre-occupied with all my guests in watching the show.  As a result I don’t have a formal report on the two films I saw this week (The Art of the Steal and Alice in Wonderland) and an off Broadway play I saw earlier in the week.  I also was unable to spend time at the PC to post links, but I will return to doing that next week.  I will speak more about the films in the comment section, as well as a discussion of the Oscars, where The Hurt Locker won six Academy Awards including Best Picture.
The Hurt Locker
    Everyone is still encouraged to make their entries here, and many thanks to Dee Dee, Tony and Joel for their yeoman work this week.  I must respond to some e mails I received too from Joel and from Michael the Coffee Messiah, which I will do tomorrow.  Thanks again!

Note:[Oops! I added this Monday Morning Poll after reading some of the comments’ left by the commenters’]

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by Allan Fish

(Denmark 1922 105m) DVD1/2

Aka. Witchcraft Through the Ages

Ode to Sprenger and Kramer

p  Ernest Mattison  d/w  Benjamin Christensen  ph  Johan Ankarstjerne  ed  Edia Hansen  md  Gillian Anderson  art  Richard Louw

Maren Pederson (Maria, the Weaver), Astrid Holm (Anna, the scribe’s wife), Oscar Stribolt (Friar), Elith Pio (Johannes, the judge), Clara Pontoppidan (Sister Cecilia), Karen Winther (Anna’s sister), Benjamin Christensen (Satan), Kate Fabian (Old maid), Alice O’Fredericks (Nun), Wilhemine Henriksen (Apelone), Emmy Schoenfeld,

It has long been recognised even from the earliest times, during the first groupings towards the essential conveniences of social decency and social order, that witchcraft is an evil thing, an enemy to light, an ally of the powers of darkness, disruption and decay.”  Those words were written in 1928 for Montague Summers’ preface to his translation of the Malleus Maleficarum, the book used for nearly 300 years from 1484 to root out witchcraft.  Benjamin Christensen’s film begins, more succinctly, with “the belief in sorcery and witchcraft is probably as old as mankind…”, yet the essence is the same.  Indeed, I have always wondered whether dear old Reverend Summers ever did see Christensen’s film less than a decade earlier, as Christensen certainly read the Malleus Maleficarum.  I also wonder what the fanatical 15th century authors James Sprenger and Heinrich Kramer would have thought of it.  They would probably have said moving pictures themselves were witchcraft and sorcery.  And there can surely be no greater irony that that. 

The fact remains that there truly is no other film quite like Benjamin Christensen’s Häxan, which in this day and age still has the power to shock.  After all, how many silent films would still get 18 certificates when released in the UK?  For a long time the only version seen was a visually inferior 75m version with narration from William Burroughs.  Needless to say, the full version, which is the one available in the US on DVD courtesy of those lovely people at Criterion, is something altogether different. (more…)

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