A screening of Häxan, the classic 1922 silent film written and directed by Benjamin Christensen, with a QFT-commissioned score, composed and performed live by Nick Carlisle.
Supposedly intended as a moral education tool, Häxan instead is ripe, bawdy, and more than likely to give you sympathy for the devil. Director Benjamin Christiansen took the Malleus Maleficarum – the medieval witch finder’s handbook – and made a documentary on witches. Having it deliciously both ways, Christiansen’s film gives us incubuses seducing maidens, medieval torture devices and witches’ sabbaths, while also unpacking the myth of the witch as a tool of oppression. Full of sumptuous recreations – in brilliant red and blue filters – of witch burnings, goblin parties and ostentatious devilry, on its release Häxan was the most expensive Swedish film yet made. A phantasmagoria worthy of William Blake or Albrecht Durer, it’s guaranteed to make you look askance at a church gargoyle and see silent film in a new light.
QFT commissioned musician Nick Carlisle to create a new score for the film’s 100th anniversary in 2022. Performed alone by Nick on synthesisers ancient and modern, the score received a rapturous response following its premiere performance.
This special Belfast International Arts Festival event will allow audiences to experience Häxan on the big screen, accompanied by a rare live performance of Nick’s remarkable new score.
Supported by the BFI Film Audience Network, awarding funds from the National Lottery in order to bring this project to more audiences across the UK.