Benjamin Christensen’s legendary silent film ‘Häxan’ embarks on a mystical journey through the realms of the supernatural. Through a series of evocative vignettes, the film presents an intriguing exploration of the hypothesis that the ‘witches’ of the Middle Ages and early modern era experienced states of consciousness akin to those of psychiatric patients diagnosed with hysteria in the film’s era. This is not just an academic study; ‘Häxan’ is a spiritual odyssey blending elements of the mystical, the profound, and the subtly humorous. Christensen’s innovative approach intertwines gothic horror, documentary re-creation, and essay film techniques, creating a cinematic experience that delves into the enigmatic and the otherworldly. This film stands as a unique testament to the enduring fascination with the esoteric and the unknown in the history of cinema.
Live music by Elvis Homan and Boštjan Simon
Häxan is given a new auditory dimension with an innovative live score by composers Elvis Homan and Boštjan Simon. This musical reimagining debuted in 2022 at the Kurja Polt Film Festival in Kinodvor, Ljubljana, marking a significant milestone in contemporary film scoring.
Boštjan Simon’s contribution is a mesmerizing blend of saxophone melodies enriched with an array of electronic elements, including modular synthesizers, pedalboards, and various effects, creating an immersive soundscape. Elvis Homan complements this with his dynamic drumming, further augmented by his proficiency in modular synthesis and the Ableton software environment. The score they have crafted for ‘Häxan’ oscillates between intricately composed sections and thoughtfully structured improvisations. These improvisational elements, while adhering to the overarching structure of the written score, add a spontaneous and organic feel to the viewing experience.
Elvis Homan released several CDs and performed at the North Sea Jazz Festival, InJazz, Tivoli Vredenburg, Trieste Loves Jazz, Oktober Jazz, Jazz Wine of Peace, Kurja Polt, International Film Festival Rotterdam, Mozzajik Jazz Festival Velenje, Imago, Haarlem JazzX, and more. He won several prestigious awards, such as the second prize at the Erasmus Jazz Prijs and the first prize at the Leiden Jazz Award 2017 with Marco Apicella Trio. Elvis is a member of Rotterdam Electronic Orchestra, Quartzite 4tet, Punky Button Clan, Void Noise, aug.unis and participated in other international projects.
Boštjan Simon is an instrumentalist, pedagogue and producer who lives and works in Ljubljana. He graduated in philosophy from the Faculty of Arts in Ljubljana (2008) and at the end of the conservatory in Amsterdam (2009) obtained the title of Bachelor of Music. He taught at the Ilirska Bistrica (2012 / 2013) and Nova Gorica (2013 – 2018) music schools. Simon is a founding member of Kaučič’s international band “Orkester brez meja”, with which he also performs at the Jazz Cerkno 2016 festival. Since 2017, he has been the artistic co-leader of the Sax Go International Saxophonists’ Meeting in Nova Gorica. He is a member of several musical projects (Etceteral, There be monsters, Robert Jukič Quartet) with which he released many records.