Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Golem (1920)

I'm in the library almost everyday. Seriously.

Although I'm there almost always to pick up books or conduct research, when there is not a line in the movie section I take a gander to see what classics (or surprises) I can find.

The other day I found the German silent 1920's film, The Golem. I generally enjoy silent films - because they always surprise me - but I was actually hesitant about this film because I wasn't sure what it would stir up in me.

I love history as much (perhaps...more...?) than I love horror movies, and throughout my life I've managed to stumble across a great deal of German history prior to WWII. I blame Indiana Jones. No really, I've managed to learn a lot more about Germany between WWI and WWII than I ever meant to. This is not a bad thing, by any means, I mention it because I knew my knowledge of Germany during this time would effect how I would view this film. And it did, in a very positive way. To summarize, I believe it helped me appreciate (more so) the grandiose accomplishment this film brought to the moving-picture world at the time - and to this day.

The opening scene blew me away. It was so beautiful and creative, mesmerizing - and that was just the background of the night sky! As the movie continued and the characters formed, I became enchanted by everything; by the character's movements, their clothes, the lighting upon their faces, and the horrors they all face including the Golem's.

And the set! The homes, the streets, the sky, the fire! Marvelous. I don't believe CGI could ever accomplish what this movie accomplished. It felt like I was watching a moving avant garde painting, and it was always walking away from me right down a crooked cobblestone street into a dark alley.

The Golem character was fascinating because I never trusted it, and this movie captured your heart every step of the way as you traveled with this clay creation. Although it may capture your heart, this is still a horror movie, so there will be lessons to be learned while watching the film. That lesson continues to this day and applies to everyone, always: Be careful of what you ask for - you might just get it.

Watch this film. Watch it with movie junkies. Watch it with kids. Watch it with history junkies. Watch it with the elderly. Watch it with those interested in learning anything they can get their hands on. Suggested pairing: anything that you've always wanted to try but haven't yet.

In fact, watch this movie now through the Internet Archive!!

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