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    Evidence, First Movement: Words and Things Essay

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    The perfect photoplay leaves no doubts, offers no explanations, startsnothing it cannot fi nish. — Henry Albert Phillips, The Photodrama (1914)The technical structure of the archiving archive also determines thestructure of the archivable content even in its very coming into existenceand in its relationship to the future. The archivization produces as muchas it rec ords the event. — Jacques Derrida, Archive Fever (1998)In the beginning there is a word. That word is “Häxan.

    ” Benjamin Christensen’s biblical echo is intentional. From the fi rst frame of Häxan, Christensen is seeking to dismantle the conventional cinematic image. This is an image of a word. In light of what is to follow, the formal conventions of the silent fi lm by defi nition destabilize any easy relation to the object “Häxan”; it exists multiply.

    Already reaching into his source material, Christensen borrows Italian inquisitor Zacharia Visconti’s categories of language to show us how the word relates to meaning, expressed in the distance between the thing and the thing signifi ed. Visconti designated this “the language of the voice,” the language proper to humans. Yet, in a silent fi lm there is no obvious voice. Certainly, a printed word occupies the domain of language for Visconti, but for this to be formally consistent the word requires the syntax that would allow the reader to insert her inner voice, the memory of a voice, in order to make this so. “Häxan” appears to lack this syntactic force at this opening instant to be properly a statement. “Häxan”— the witch— appears to be an impossible object.

    In Visconti’s schema, this word also appears to speak “the language of the mind. ” This is a language the inquisitor reserves for angels, a language resulting in nonstatements. From the very beginning, there is no claim made about the witch—no question is asked. The witch is simply announced.

    In an instant, “Häxan”— the witch—is there and this is all. “Häxan” is si mul ta neously a word, an image, and a thing. Benjamin Christensen makes every effort to craft a witch that is real to us. It is a grand ambition. Playing with the ontological fl uidity of a cinematic image, the director expresses himself through an image- world that seems entirely of his own creation.

    “Häxan” in the opening moment of the fi lm is a monad, containing the totality of this world in its most basic ele ment. Not just a word, the Word. Visconti reserved this language, “the language of things” to God alone; yet for scientists and fi lmmakers, it is the language of things that holds the greatest appeal.

    To the World a Witch

    Christensen’s fi rst task is to open the world of the witch to the fi lm’s audience. He does this by immediately following the word with a preposition, albeit still denying us the calming language of voice that is proper to us. This preposition, denoting both agency and possession, comes in the form of a face.

    His face. The commanding, scowling face of the director stares out at the camera. Christensen’s fi lm will make full use of this art of metoposcopy. Dating back to Girolamo Cardano and the Re nais sance, metoposcopy defi ned the operation of reason as the weaving together of images in the mind.

    In turn, the expression of reasoning was to be found on the face (a protocinematic theory of the relation between image and thought if ever there was one). 2 Christensen’s face is one of many revealed; these faces—of the old woman, of the ecstatic nun, of the novice sorceress— will be offered as primary evidence of the power of the witch and the logic of demonological thinking. It is telling that Christensen’s face is the fi rst shown, not in order to place his seal of authorship, but as a way to assert to his audience that it is his argument that resides in the foreground. This is no ordinary fi lm. It is not merely entertainment. Häxan is a thesis.

    After this dramatic beginning, Christensen provides some immediate reprieve through a scarcely noticeable addendum to the opening title card: “A pre sen ta tion from a cultural and historical point of view in seven chapters of moving pictures. ” Claiming a reassuring authority, Christensen now signals that he intends to enlighten us in the manner of a professor giving a lecture. The technology of the motion picture is not simply a medium here; in the ser vice of Christensen’s thesis, it is a precise, deliberate method. The title cards that follow identify the director, the cinematographer, and turn the audience’s attention toward the list of sources for the fi lm distributed as part of the original program (which has been reproduced in the back matter of this volume). Like any respectable scholar, Christensen indexes himself through his sources. Yet his mode of citation is unambiguously rooted in the formal elements of cinema and the image rather than texts, and is ultimately put to different uses from that of the historian or human scientist; this difference will constitute the focus of our own analy sis in this chapter, as we move through his textual materials and the production of his images shot by shot.

    In short, Christensen makes sure the audience knows that it took three years to research and produce his visual thesis. As with the word and the face, this is stated abruptly for the benefi t of context. More title cards follow, fi lled with an authoritarian, fi rst- person tenor. Lacking any established provenance for a voice- of- God tone that would only later become standard in the Griersonian documentary mode of the 1930s, Christensen takes it upon himself to invent this voice. The common suggestion that Luis Buñuel fi rst generated this instrumentally impersonal tenor in Land without Bread (Tierra Sin Pan, 1933) is off by a full de cade, ignoring the fact that silent fi lms were anything but silent. 3 The director begins in this voice by establishing the witch as a chapter within a much longer constellation of practices, discourses, traditions, and institutions.

    This is empirically correct, as scholars from Gaston Maspero to Stuart Clark have emphasized in their own studies of the witch. 4Among many others, Richard Kieckhefer has demonstrated how the long history of practical natu ral magic was enfolded into the specifi city of Eu ro pean witchcraft in the late Middle Ages. 5 These fi ndings have only taken root in the historical debates on witchcraft since the 1970s, which Christensen anticipates by some fi fty years. It is at this point in Häxan that Christensen gives us an image of the witch. It is a well- known woodcut that fi rst appeared in Ulrich Molitor’s Von den Unholden oder Hexen (1489), at the dawn of the witch hysteria in Eu rope, depicting two women feeding a boiling cauldron. Many of the ste reo typical visual characteristics of the witch are not yet established: the age of the women is diffi cult to determine and they are far from the withered old crones we see later in Albrecht Dürer and Hans Baldung Grien.

    6 Yet they are unmistakably witches. Their boiling brew evaporates into the air, appearing to cause a storm. Drawing on a trope that would instantly signify “the witch” from Shakespeare’s Macbeth to the pre sent, Christensen introduces the viewer to the subjects of his fi lm via a classic example of the malefi cium that people greatly feared from witches in the early modern period. Christensen carefully limits what we can see of this image, narrowing the visible edges of the shot into a severe vertical line bisecting the screen.

    The shot is abrupt, barely onscreen for a few seconds before the intertitles return. Our focus is taken to the statement that primitive men “always” confront the inexplicable with tales of sorcery and evil spirits. This is obvious hyperbole, but not entirely out of step with the evolving scientifi c explanations of the time regarding the origins of human society. Echoing E. B.

    Tylor’s argument that civilization always begins with the imaginative, superstitious responses of humans to a world they do not yet understand, Christensen then shifts to consider the power of belief. 7 Häxan at this stage appears to be aspiring to Max Müller’s dream of presenting an objective, empirical “science of religion. ” 8 Interestingly, the next image takes us to “imaginary creatures” thought to cause disease and pestilence in ancient Persia. A row of six human– animal hybrids confronts the viewer. Christensen immediately divulges his sources for this claim, citing Rawlinson9 and Maspero10 as authorities that trace the Eu ro pean belief in witches back to antiquity.

    Several shots of monstrous hybrid demons, drawn from Maspero, follow. Christensen is operating in a fi rmly rationalist mode here, linking these monsters to “naïve notions about the mystery of the universe” held by ancient people. A re- creation of Egyptian astrological notions of the nature of the world immediately follows. This is the fi rst explicit set to appear in Häxan, depicting (according to Maspero’s information, the intertitle asserts) a world of high mountains, stars dangling from ropes, and a sky supported by strong pillars. A nameless assistant out of frame helpfully draws the viewer’s attention to the im por tant details.

    As with any Universalist approach, Christensen traverses time quickly in the pre sen ta tion of his thesis. No sooner have we glimpsed this scale model of the Egyptian cosmos than we are catapulted into the folklore of early modern Eu rope. Perhaps the singular feature of the witch craze in Eu rope is bluntly stated when Christensen informs us that the generalized evil spirits of ancient times are transformed into dev ils by the fourteenth century. Cutting from one to another, four iconic images of dev ils par tic u lar to the period fl ash across the screen, the fi lm stock tinted an ominous, rusty red to heighten the effect. These dev ils lived at the earth’s core, Christensen tells us, with the earth believed to be a stationary sphere in space surrounded by layers of air and fi re. Beyond the fi re lay moving celestial bodies, ceaselessly rotating around the earth with the fi xed stars far above and, “in the tenth crystal sphere,” sits the Almighty and His angels, keeping the whole celestial system in motion.

    Intercut title cards offer explanation before Christensen helpfully reveals a working model of this cosmology, in this case drawn from Hartmann Schedel’s Liber Chronicarum,11 slowly pulling back the iris to reveal the medieval universe that he is has described. This moving repre sen ta tion of a terra- centered universe resembles the elaborate wonders found in Baroque wunderkammer meticulously assembled by the German elite at the time. It is an effective use of parallel editing to bring this lecture, delivered in text, to life in a visual manner. While not explicitly designating the scene as such, Christensen is visually marking here what Frances Yates has called, after Cornelius Agrippa’s handbook of the same name, “the occult philosophy” of the Re nais sance.

    12 The “rediscovery” of a large lit erature in Greek attributed to the name “Hermes Trimesgistus” by Marsilio Ficino (1433–1499), Giovanni Pico della Mirandola (1463–1494), Henry Cornelius Agrippa (1486–1535), and most powerfully of all, Giordano Bruno (1548–1600), galvanized a critique of the mainstream Church and represented a strong effort on the part of an elite group of scholars for an energized spirituality rooted in an Egyptian- derived wisdom handed down prior to that of the Old Testament. The core of Renais sance Hermeticism was a deep concern with astrology and the occult sciences, the secret essences of natu ral things, and the sympathetic magic that was made possi ble for those who mastered such essences and their relations to one another. 13 In short, the writings of Hermes Trimesgistus progressively provided the foundation for Ficino’s relatively mild natu ral magic, Pico della Mirandola’s Christian Cabalist, Agrippa’s Christian magus, Tommaso Campanella’s (1568–1639) utopian City of the Sun,14 and eventually Bruno’s full- blown Hermetic– Cabalist philosophy that sought through the power of astrology and magic to bypass the Church altogether, “operating” in such a way that the skilled magi could reach the Divine directly. The fact that, starting with Ficino’s Latin translations of the Corpus Hermeticum,15 Re nais sance Hermeticism, while not widespread or necessarily revolutionary, was based on a massive historical error in determining the provenance of the texts is relatively unimportant for Christensen’s thesis here. 16This does not blunt the historical accuracy of the connection Christensen is making between what was presumed to be “Egyptian” wisdom regarding the nature of the world and what he understood to be a religious tumult that arose out of this challenge in the de cades preceding his witch.

    A full account of the rippling effects of the Hermetic– Cabalist tradition well exceeds Christensen’s purpose here. It is clear, however, that the scrupulously mathematical astrology of Girolamo Cardano (1501–1576)17 and the rigorously empirical studies of the natu ral world demanded by Bruno’s attempts to operate as a magus paved the way for the science of Newton and Copernicus and for a new metaphysics to emerge that, over time, would come to be credited as the precursor to the modern scientifi c self. 18 The visual references to this tradition that fl ash by in Häxan’s fi rst chapter argues in its own way for the central importance of this tradition well before scholars such as Yates and others19 revolutionized our historical understanding of this tradition in the middle of the twentieth century. It is also relevant to Christensen’s thesis that the violent refutation of the Re nais sance magi was a crucial element in the battle with witches and Satan that demonologists and inquisitors took up in the sixteenth century. Jean Bodin’s De la démonomanie des sorciers (1580) is an excellent example of the relation, as Bodin excoriates key Re nais sance fi gures such as Mirandola and Agrippa as satanic precursors to the scourge of witchcraft that he felt was plaguing the faithful at the time. While often lost by modern scholars “in a hurry” to get to the details of witchcraft emblematic of demonological texts such as Bodin’s, it is commonly the case that such anti- witch treatises begin with attacks on Re nais sance magic and the Hermetic– Cabalist tradition that authorized it.

    20The stakes were quite high, as Giordano Bruno’s execution demonstrated. In the sixteenth century, Hermetic magic and Cabalism became associated with the notion of “superstition” for Protestants and Catholics alike; for both reformers and counter- reformers by the close of the century, such superstition was a crime. 21 What appears elliptical in its pre sen ta tion in Häxan is Christensen’s reference to the twisted relationship between “Egyptian antiquity” and the witch trials in sixteenth- century Eu rope. Christensen advances the analy sis of visual culture in Häxan in the next scene, in an extended set piece devoted to the close examination of a miniature from the twelfth- century manuscript Hortus deliciarum.

    Tacking back and forth between the intertitle lecture and the careful consideration of details from the painting (again, with offscreen “pointers” to direct our gaze), the gory, elaborated reality of hell produced by the nun/artist Herrad of Landsberg jumps to life onscreen. It is clear that Christensen is overreaching by attributing a largely cohesive image of hell to a period when the nature of hell’s location and “topography” was a subject of fi erce theological debate. Although the early image corresponds to well- known later depictions of hell in lit erature (Dante) and art (Bosch) that fi lmgoers in 1922 could have reasonably been expected to know, Christensen’s lecture strategically ignores debates and alternate conceptions of damnation that existed in the fi fteenth and sixteenth centuries in Eu rope. For example, Sylvester Prierias’s infl uential De strigmagarum daemonique mirandis22 argued that fallen angels lived in the air, ungrounded and shapeless, manipulating the physicality of this air to act through witches and the wicked on earth. 23While Christensen gives ample attention to the manipulation of air and environment later in the fi lm (largely through the Wild Ride to the Sabbat), his authoritative approach is occasionally strained in close examinations such as the one he offers regarding the Hortus deliciarum miniature. Despite the serious purpose Christensen asserts for Häxan, he appears to realize that spectacular moments of titillation are also necessary to carry through his visual thesis.

    This is evident in the following scene where a working mechanical pre sen ta tion of hell is revealed— the fi rst real scene of movement in the fi lm. The title cards suggest that Christensen “found” this visual machine dating to antiquity. It is unclear if the billowing smoke that at times completely obscures the actual mechanism onscreen (a rare technical misstep) is part of the workings of the apparatus or Christensen’s own attempt to heighten the fi ery terror of the scene. Either way, it works to amplify affect more than further analy sis, leaving the title cards to offer a generic explanation that “during the Middle Ages, dev ils and hell were considered real and constantly feared. ” After lingering on this spectacular hell device, Häxan returns to unfolding the necessary facts of witchcraft to the audience by moving to a shot of a woodcut depicting novice witches signing a pact with the Devil. Correctly following the procedural descriptions of famous witch- hunting texts such as Institoris and Sprenger’s Malleus Malefi carum24 and Nider’s Formicarius,25 Christensen emphasizes the essential agency of individuals in making a pact with Satan.

    The woodcut shows a novice witch being raised into the air by the Devil, foreshadowing the procedural reenactments that follow later in the fi lm. Returning to his scholastic mode, Christensen notes that these images are drawn from Gustav Freytag’s “A German Life in Pictures. ”26Two additional woodcuts from this source immediately follow; one depicting a witch milking an axe handle and the other showing a woman bewitching a man’s shoe. While the ability to manipulate and pervert inanimate objects is empirically consistent with the historical rec ord on witchcraft, Christensen offers no additional commentary or explanation of these bizarre images. Christensen’s visual narrative moves to the second essential ele ment of medieval witchcraft: the Sabbat.

    27 Molitor’s Female Witches Acting Together woodcut (ca. 1493) is used to visually illustrate the gathering. Not lingering on the Sabbat itself, the fi lm proceeds to witches acting in groups in order to cast spells on a cow, an entire village, and an unfortunate person who has fallen ill, drawn from Bourneville and Teinturier’s Le sabbat des sorciers. 28 Throughout this sequence of malefi cium, Christensen emphasizes the arcane symbols used to ward off spells and the fact that the sick person is shown naked, a practice “that was habitual in the past. ” This vaguely salacious detail is emphasized further in the rapid succession of images fi nally revealing a group of nude women dancing around a demon at a Sabbat. Though not explicitly stated as such in the title cards, a palpable sexual dimension has crept into Christensen’s thesis.

    This ele ment will be prominent throughout the fi lm, depicted here in images of women “sneaking away” to attend Sabbats. Using woodcuts “passed on” to Christensen by “the French doctors Bourneville and Teinturier,” the viewer is then taken through the typical rituals of a “secret satanic rite”— the abjuring of the Church by desecrating the cross, Satan renaming his initiates, and the horrifi c ceremonial banquet of the Sabbat. Christensen notes that the food for these banquets was often prepared using the corpses of executed prisoners (though in fact it was babies), continuing with an image found in Molitor, reproduced in Le sabbat des sorcières. Saving the best for last, witches (both male and female) are shown kissing Satan’s anus as a sign of devotion. The image is a climax of sorts, and Christensen’s textual accompaniment simply notes the activity without additional embellishment.

    The Vicissitudes of Truth Telling in Early Cinema

    Christensen’s peculiar strategy in opening Häxan becomes apparent as the fi lm progresses. Grounded in the realism of nascent nonfi ction fi lmmaking, the director establishes his authority on the basis of citation. Inverting the typical structure of the monograph where the notes and sources would come last, Häxan visually grounds itself in citable evidence from the start. There are historical reasons for why this is done. Although hailed from nearly the moment of its invention as an instrument for “recording reality,” the value of cinema as a vehicle for “telling the truth” about the world was increasingly regarded with suspicion by professional historians and social scientists in the early 1920s.

    Dominated by the “actuality” fi lm, where the provenance of the images and the “historical tracks” of the observer were often obscured or even erased, purportedly nonfi ctional visual media were increasingly being judged inadequate to the tasks and protocols of the serious scholar at the time of Häxan’s release. 29 Michael Chanan has summarized this period in the history of nonfi ctional fi lmmaking as follows:When documentary was not yet documentary (but then fi ction wasn’t fi ctionyet either), when the medium was mute and each fi lm ran only a minute or two,moving pictures hardly amounted to more than a miscellany of visual tidbits,which made no demands on literacy and thus spread easily and rapidly farand wide. The world on the screen exerted a magical attraction but remainedanecdotal and predominantly iconic. In terms of public discourse, it waspractically inarticulate, other than to reinforce already ste reo typical images orcreate some new ones; in short, intensely fascinating but apparently ill- adaptedto serving intelligent purposes.

    It is not as though scientists, journalists, and others devoted to making nature speak did not give fi lmmaking a try. In the waning years of the nineteenth century, anthropologists such as Alfred Cort Haddon, Walter Baldwin Spencer, and Frank Gillen were already using the new technology to fashion, with mixed success, proto- ethnographic fi lms. Charles Urban founded the Unseen World series in 1903, merging the technologies of the microscope and the cinematograph to attempt to unlock the secrets of nature at its most minuscule level. Films such as Attack on a China Mission Station (1900), Hunting Big Game in Africa (1907), and With Captain Scott, R. N. , to the South Pole (1912) sought to bring the immediacy of news headlines to life onscreen.

    State- sponsored war propaganda generated during the First World War, including The Battle of the Somme (1916) and With Our Heroes at the Somme (Bei unseren Helden an der Somme, 1917) mutated the desire to see far- off contemporary events through visual meaning- making machines that demanded not only attention but belief. The fact that these fi lms nearly always made this demand by staging, as real, reenactments of purportedly real events only added to the early suspicion of cinema’s ability to convey unvarnished, objective facts. 31 Even for fi lms not surreptitiously staged, the reliance on actualities of iconic clichés, giving the viewer what they largely expected to see, proved to be a serious prob lem for those who wished to convey the complexity and depth of the world and of nature. 32The issue, widely discussed well before John Grierson’s proclamation of the “documentary value” of Robert Flaherty’s Moana in 1926, concerns the relation between a fragmentary visual artifact drawn “from life” and the truth value of any such fragments. Ultimately, this issue hinges on mimesis. What sorts of fi lmmaking practices can felicitously mimic life as such? Grierson’s own elaboration of documentary recognizes this in asserting that the fi lmmaking form is the “creative treatment of actuality.

    ” Grierson was not the fi rst to conceptualize the matter in this way, as Brian Winston shows that the Polish writer Boleslaw Matuszewski stated the issue in these same terms as early as 1898. 33 Crucially, mimesis was not only permissible for writers such as Matuszewski and early documentarians such as Edward Curtis; it was indispensible in the creation of valuable documentary works. Thus, a fi lm such as Curtis’s In the Land of the War Canoes (a. k. a. In the Land of the Headhunters, 1914) adhered to prevailing standards of expressing the real not despite its status as a reenactment but because of it.

    The truth of Kwakiutl (Kwagu’?) life is evident through the spirit of Curtis’s expert cinematic expression of what that life is, just as the reality of war was only truly evident to viewers through gaining a sense of the fi ghting as re- created in other wise opposing accounts of the truth in the British and German Somme fi lms. 34Later accounts by fi lm historians positing “fact” and “fi ction” as oppositional binaries arising out of the earliest approaches to fi lmmaking were further exemplifi ed by pitting the “realist” Lumière against the “fanciful” Méliès within a crypto- structuralist origin myth that falsely represented what “documentary” meant to pre- Griersonian fi lmmakers. 35 The “ahuman” witness of the camera is not enough, as this merely produces a blind sight that cannot, on its own, educate, enlighten, or even fully rec ord the real in any ideal manner. This is not the fi rst time that the gap between witnessing and the real has erupted in Eu ro pean history.

    As Häxan demonstrates, the question of evidence occupied inquisitors and theologians long before the invention of cinema. Playing on the fact that, while the traces serving as evidence are quite different, a larger ontological issue binds them across the centuries, Christensen takes the unique tack of assuming the role of the art historian in this opening section of the fi lm. This is a risky strategy, particularly given the static nature of the materials on display, but it does allow Christensen to shift the locus of the empirical to the materiality of images accepted as historical. Taking up this position in the opening chapter of Häxan also allows Christensen to have it both ways, in that he can si mul ta neously confront the viewer directly in the manner of an earlier cinema of attractions while also preparing viewers for the “diegetic absorption” that was coming to dominate the grammar of cinema in the 1920s. 36 Given the impossibility of fi lming witches several centuries “ after the fact,” Häxan creates pre sent- day empirical images from artifacts of the time. Yet this analytic position does not guarantee that the images will be “brought to life” in any way.

    To the contrary, the vivisection of the historical image would tend to produce the same outcome that any vivisection would: death or deformity. Thus the risk, quite evident throughout the fi rst chapter of the fi lm, is that the presumed pastness of these images, their “deadness,” will subvert the appearance of life that distinguishes cinema from other visual forms such as photography, painting, and printmaking. How well Christensen is able to elide this deadness is open to debate; undeniably, many viewers experience the opening minutes of the fi lm as a plodding exhibition of “pictures of pictures. ” This reaction notwithstanding, the strategy of “reimaging” is methodological and intentional, an ac know ledg ment on Christensen’s part that for a very long time “knowledge” in Eu ro pean terms consists fi rst and foremost of “recitations of the known. ”37 While the opening chapter of Häxan may test the patience of the viewer, the logic of Christensen’s visual strategy in this section becomes clearer as the fi lm progresses. The director is laying a foundation for what comes next, though he is quite sensitive to the fact that a visual thesis demands a different relation to its sources.

    Thus, the parade of classic visual works in this opening section provides the ground not only for the arrangement of a thesis but also for the creation of new images, constituting its own evidence for what is at stake. Christensen accomplishes this by continually triangulating between paintings and woodcuts, photographs, and cinematic dramatization. This movement between formally distinct media at times more fi rmly aligns Christensen with those who affi rm that “nonfi ction” is a designation determined by techniques of pre sen ta tion rather than simple content, including art historian Aby Warburg, fi lmmaker Chris Marker (particularly in reference to his famous 1962 “fi lm of photographs,” La Jetée), and the recent photography of Jeff Wall, Cindy Sherman, and Hiroshi Sugimoto, much more than with his own contemporaries in the cinema of the 1920s. 38There are also echoes in Häxan of the creative displacements effected through Soviet montage and the use of fragments of found footage to assem ble a singular work, with Esfi r Shub’s fi lm The Fall of the Romanov Dynasty (1927) being the most obvious example.

    39 Häxan, not having access to archival footage for obvious reasons, nevertheless re- pre sents the documents of the visual archive of the witch in a manner recalling the methods of Shub and other Soviet fi lmmakers such as Dziga Vertov. In formally similar fi lms like Harun Farocki’s As You See (Wie man sieht, 1986) and Images of the World and the Inscription of War (Bilder der Welt und Inschrift des Krieges, 1989), the “truth” gained by the reproduction of archival images is unlocked only through their mobility in the context of their new use. 40 As with Farocki, Christensen does not seek to embellish such visual artifacts in citing them, but rather empties them out, expressing through their preestablished frame a meaning that was hidden, resisted, or not even in ven ted at the time of their origins. Understood in this way, the disconcerting effect of the opening chapter becomes more plausible, as Häxan disrupts what the audience can expect from the fi lm. While the medium of expression is undoubtedly modern and allows for these uniquely moving images, the method Christensen deploys helps to cultivate a position that draws authority from an expertise based on the interweaving of the artistic and the scientifi c rather than an ideal “scientifi c self” premised on the polarization of the two.41

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