3:00 pm, $7/$5 members
The 1920 film The Golem: How He Came Into the World, will be shown at the Rosendale Theatre Sunday, March 6th, at 3:00 PM as part of the Sunday Silents series. Rabbi Zoe B. Zak of Temple Israel, Catskill, will introduce the film. As for all the silent films in Rosendale’s series, The Golem will be accompanied by the piano virtuosity of Marta Waterman.
The Golem, based on Jewish folklore, is a tolerance film that studies in depth the relationship between Jews and Christians in medieval Prague. It was written, co-directed by, and stars Paul Wegener, an early German filmmaker. To his credit, Wegener refuses to impose stereotypes on either Jews or Christians, and creates individual characters and using mass characterizations only to highlight the themes of the film.
The use of Expressionist scenery and artistic lighting takes advantage of the best tools of silent cinema. The cinematography of this film is said to represent the best of German Expressionism. Sometimes characterized as a “horror” film, The Golem is in fact a cautionary tale depicting good and evil in an polarized civilization. Much of its fascination lies in its visual style. The sets by Hans Poelzig are a strange but cohesive mixture of medieval, nouveau, and surrealism, and the cinematography by legendary photographer Karl Freund uses high contrast black and white to truly remarkable effect. The Poelzig-Freund combination would cast an extremely long shadow, and The Golem would influence not only such German films as Fitz Lang’s Metropolis but the entire cycle of 1930s American horror films that began with the 1931 Bela Lugosi Dracula.