GenreDocumentary SequelFull Circle CastStarhawk, Margot Adler CountryCanada
Release date1990 (1990) WriterErna Buffie, Donna Read, Starhawk (story) Similar moviesThe Burning Times and Goddess Remembered are part of the same movie series
The burning times documentary part 1
The Burning Times is a 1990 Canadian documentary, presenting a feminist account of the Early Modern European witchcraft trials. It was directed by Donna Read and written by Erna Buffie, and features interviews with feminist and Neopagan notables, such as Starhawk, Margot Adler, and Matthew Fox. The Burning Times is the second film in the National Film Board of Canada's Women and Spirituality series, following Goddess Remembered and preceding Full Circle.
The opening and closing theme music, composed by Loreena McKennitt, was released as the track titled "Tango to Evora" on her album "The Visit".
Numbers of witches killed
In the film, Thea Jensen calls this period in history a "Women's Holocaust". She notes that a total number of victims is unknown but that the high number often given is nine million deaths, over a period of 300 or more years. Otherwise, scholarly "high" estimates range around 100,000, with estimates around 60,000 more common. The nine million figure, according to modern scholarship, originates with a 1784 article by Gottfried Christian Voigt.
Criticisms of the Church
According to William Donohue and Robert Eady of the Catholic Civil Rights League, the movie is inaccurate in other respects, e.g., placing Trier in France instead of Germany, and dating a stone cross there that is recorded to have been erected in 958 AD to 1132 AD without further explanation. The cross is shown as a "symbol of a new religious cult that was sweeping across Europe," despite Christian presence since 286. Eady, a member of the League in Canada, has cited the film in a complaint to broadcast regulators, in particular mentioning offense at the movie's quote: "it took the Church two hundred years of terror and death to transform the image of paganism into devil worship, and folk culture into heresy." Eady describes the documentary as propaganda intended to represent the Christian Church as "a wicked, patriarchal, misogynist institution". Jack Kapica adds "Women have genuine grievances with the Church. The Burning Times, however, is not going to help their cause."