• Maren Pedersen: The witch
  • Clara Pontoppidan: Nonne
  • Elith Pio: Witch Judge ( Young Monk )
  • Oscar Stribolt: Doctor ( Fat Monk)
  • Torah Tiye: Modern Hysterical ( the kleptomaniac )
  • John Andersen: Chefinquisitor
  • Benjamin Christensen: The Devil
  • Poul Reumert: jeweler
  • Karen Winther: Anna
  • Kate Fabian: Old maid
  • Else Increase: nun
  • Astrid Holm: Anna
  • Johannes Andersen: Witch Judge
  • Gerda Madsen: nun
  • Aage Hertel: Witch Judge

Hexene ( Alternatively: The Witch ) is a film produced in Sweden by Danish director Benjamin Christensen in 1922 It contains both elements of the feature film and documentary. . Witches should be the first film of a trilogy. While it comes to persecution of witches in Witches, the other films should deal with the subjects Holy visions and exorcisms. Of the three planned films but only witches was implemented.


The film is divided into seven sections, which address the themes of witchcraft and the Inquisition.

The first section provides an overview of the documentary mysticism. He tells of earlier cultures, regarded the evil forces as a cause of unexplained phenomena and various worldviews developed as models before they knew the spherical shape of the earth. The section also shows the activities of a witch, such as the milking of axes or the Hex from pets.

In contrast to the first portion of the film moves on to the second section Spielfilmart. Here the events are portrayed in a witch's kitchen. While a witch brewing her concoctions, a customer wants a love potion to win a man of the Church itself. Furthermore, two masked dissect a corpse; it is bewitched a drunk, a young woman seduced by the devil in your sleep.

The third section of the film treated witch trials. Here in the " Malleus Maleficarum " described methods ( one written by the Dominicans Heinrich Kramer book about witches ) are described, one suspects to prove their existence witches, just as the water sample or the lead sample. In the latter, a pan of hot lead is swung over a sick and cast the lead into cold water - the form of the cooled lead to state whether it is a case of bewitchment. Wants to denounce as a young girl in a monk an old weaver as a witch, while the desire it arouses monk, it is maintained even for a witch.

The fourth section of the film depicts a witch trial with the example of Mary, the old weaver from the previous section. The methods to force a confession ranged from the pillory and cross-examinations up to the torture, which ultimately has an effect. As part of Maria's confession, the film contains a detailed description of the Witches' Sabbath.

The fifth section shows, has been handled according to a confession by the accused. So the wife and the maid of the diseased man be taken. An involved in the action monk, in which the daughter of the patient has awakened desires, can be whipped to save his soul salvation. The daughter of the patient threatened after a forced confession of the pyre.

In the sixth section of the film, the then customary torture tools are presented, such as thumbscrews, benches and stretch belt with spikes on the inside.

The seventh section provides a connection to the science of the 20th century and explains the religious fanaticism with hysteria.


Christensen turned witches 1919-1922 After the premiere on September 18, 1922, the film dissolved in Denmark because of the violence it contains indignation. ; in France protested the church against the film; in Germany he was banned after its local premiere in February 1924. This led to cuts and censorship of the film material abroad; Only in Denmark Häxan was shown in its original version. Only when the film was made ​​in 1941 in the cinemas again from its director, the original version could also be seen abroad.

In 1968 the film was released in a revised version out as Witchcraft Through The Ages, among other things, at the wrong speed ( with the now- standard 24 frames per second instead of 20, in which the film was actually shot ) played and backed by jazz music been.


"As an educational film thought the expressionist staging but now attracts less by their information content than by the formal skill in coloring darkly burlesque horror visions "