by Saara Cantell
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The story of Anna (16) takes place on Åland Island in 1666, just as the most widespread and systematic witch hunts in Scandinavian history were beginning. In all, 16 women were convicted of being in league with the devil, and seven of them were executed. For Judge Psilander, who has mastered the newest witch theories of the time, the trials are meant to cleanse the island of superstition, and to let science and common sense prevail. The main character, the intelligent yet stubborn Anna, is afforded an intimate view of the events, having just started working as a maid in judge’s house. To Anna’s misfortune, she falls intensely in love with her friend Rakel’s husband Elias, but his infatuation with her quickly fades. A hurt and jealous Anna decides to get her revenge and falsely reports Rakel to Judge Psilander. It’s only when Rakel is arrested, and things get out of hand, that Anna realizes the gravity of her behaviour. This is the beginning of her lonely battle, a desperate attempt to right her wrongdoing.