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WITCHCRAFT

Iceland, 1999 (MIFF 2000, International Panorama)

Director: Hrafn Gunnlaugsson

This chilling 17th century saga is a brutal examination of the occult and the consequences of belief, in the physical presence of dark forces, escalating out of control. The Reverend Jón Magnússon is a star theology student and an idealistic young priest. Fresh from the seminary, he is sent to an isolated and snow bound coastal community in Iceland. Initially thrilled by the challenge of saving backward souls, Magnusson has his first brush with temptation in the form of a striking local beauty. When she violently spurns his advances, the young minister becomes set on a vengeful course that sees him transform into a psychotic fanatic, seeing Satan's messengers in every dark corner. He instigates an orgy of violent witch burnings, torture and slaughter until fate (or the forces of darkness that he so despises) decree a fitting and horrifying end to the carnage. Heart-stopping tension in a taut drama fraught with superstition and fear of the unknown.

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