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30 Oct 2017

Witchhammer (Kladivo na čarodějnice) - DVD release

Witchhammer (1969) transforms the horrific tale of a notorious 17th Century witch trial into a powerful allegory of life under totalitarian rule. In a small Czech village, an investigation into a simple superstition quickly becomes a full-blown Inquisition, unleashing a tide of hysteria and cruelty.

dir. Otakar Vávra, Czechoslovakia, 1969

The script, co-written by Ester Krumbachová (Daisies, Valerie and Her Week of Wonders), draws on original court transcripts and forced confessions, revealing the malevolence of the Inquisitors who exorcise their own greed and lust through gruesome torture and execution.

The beautiful, stark cinematography echoes Bergman, Dreyer and František Vlácil, and finds literary antecedents in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible and Aldous Huxley’s The Devils of Loudon. Like Ken Russell's controversial, expressionistic adaptation of Huxley’s text, The Devils (1971) and other films of the period such as Michael Reeves' Witchfinder General (1968), Witchhammer transcends horror to create a chilling political fable, revealing power to be the ultimate weapon of evil. 

“Made with relentless precision, rhythm and logic… beautifully staged in CinemaScope with stylish photography by Josef Illík and a compelling score by Jiří Srnka”
Peter Hames, Czech and Slovak Cinema: Theme and Tradition

"Its generic qualities recall the perfectly-executed excesses of Witchfinder General... A humanist horror film and an indisputable work of art"
Senses of Cinema 

• Presented from a new HD re-master and transfer from original materials held by the Czech National Film Archive.
• A new and exclusive filmed appreciation by essayist and critic Kat Ellinger and film historian Michael Brooke.
• Otakar Vávra's experimental short film The Light Penetrates the Dark (1931)
• 16-page booklet featuring a new essay by editor, writer and film critic Samm Deighan.
• New and improved English subtitle translation.
• World premiere release on Blu-ray.





30 Oct 2017


Second Run

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