The legend of the Golem—an artificial clay anthropoidbrought to life through kabbalistic magic in 16th century Prague by Rabbi Jehuda Loewin order to save the Prague Jewish community from an edict of expulsion—is one of the most enduring and resonant stories in all of Jewish mythology. The 1920 German silent film, The Golem: How He Came into the World (Der Golem, wie er in die Welt kam)directed by Paul Wegener and Carl Boese, is considered the definitive version of this amazing tale. Widely recognized as the source of the Frankenstein myth,the ancient Hebrew legend of the Golem provided actor/director Paul Wegener with the substance for one of the most adventurous films of the German silent cinema.Released in the aftermath of Germany’s defeat in World War I, the film’s innovative cinematography,lighting effects, modernist architectural design, and thrilling plot all led contemporaneous viewers and critics to pronounce that Germany had finally succeeded on the film front if not on the battlefield. Suffering under the tyrannical rule of Rudolf II in 16th-century Prague, a Talmudic rabbi (Albert Steinruck) creates a giant warrior (Paul Wegener) to protect the safety of his people. Sculpted of clay and animated by the mysterious secrets of the Kabbalah, the Golem is a seemingly indestructible juggernaut, performing acts of great heroism, yet equally capable of dreadful violence. When the rabbi’s assistant (Ernst Deutsch) takes control of the Golem and attempts to use him for selfish gain, the lumbering ‘monster without a soul’ runs rampant, abducting the rabbi’s daughter (LydaSalmonova) and setting fire to the ghetto.With its remarkable creation sequence (a dazzling blend of religion, sorcery and special effects) and the grand-scale destruction of its climax, The Golem was one of the greatest achievements of the legendary UFA Studiosandremains an undeniable landmark in the evolution of the horror film. Watch the film, with Lucas’ live guitar score. Then join Lucas for a discussion about his score of the film and The Golem’s place in cinematic history. Gary Lucas is a Grammy-nominated songwriter, an international recording artist, and a soundtrack composer for film and television. The former Captain Beefheart guitarist has recorded over 50 acclaimed albums in a variety of genres — jazz, rock, classical, folk, blues, avant-garde, and world music — and has performed in over 40 countries. Gary has received several Lifetime Achievement awards for his songwriting with Jeff Buckley (he co-wrote Jeff’s anthems “Grace” and “Mojo Pin”) and many other honors, including performing solo before the General Assembly of the UN to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Considered one of the greatest living guitarists, Gary has performed and collaborated with musical luminaries Leonard Bernstein, Lou Reed, Patti Smith, and Nick Cave, among many others. The Golem: How He Came into the World (German: Der Golem, wie er in die Welt kam) Directed by Carl Boese, Paul Wegener Length: 90 min Year: 1920 Country: Germany Language: English intertitles
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