Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Witchhammer (1970)

Ustredni Pujcovna Filmu (Czechoslovakia)
Directed by Otakar Vávra
My rating: 2.5 stars out of 4
IMDb Wikipedia
(DVD, Facets)

In late medieval Moravia, an inquisitor is summoned after an old woman is caught stealing a communion wafer and accused of being a witch. Under torture, she names others and more women are arrested, tortured and burned at the stake. A few of the local men try to restore order by questioning the inquisitors, but are instead arrested, tortured and put to death. A plea is made to the monarchy, but they are too busy to care. Based on historical records of real witch trials, this has an air of authenticity and the period is vividly recreated. However, it also leans toward exploitative aspects, with emphasis on violence and nudity. Possible political overtones to modern times is an unnecessary distraction.

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