The Golem, How He Came into the World
Title Details

86 Pages

19 x 13.3 cm

32 color. 6 b/w. Illustrations

Series: Camden House German Film Classics

Imprint: Camden House

The Golem, How He Came into the World

by Maya Barzilai

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Author
Provides an aesthetic and historical overview of and new critical insights into Paul Wegener's great 1920 film, recognized at the time as a breakthrough in German cinema.
Actor and director Paul Wegener released his 1920 silent film The Golem, How He Came into the World 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. The Golem, How He Came into the World, Wegener's third golem film, narrates how Rabbi Loew, here an astrologer and sorcerer as well as a spiritual leader, forms and animates an artificial clay anthropoid in order to save the Prague Jewish community from an edict of expulsion. Maya Barzilai situates the 1920 film in the historical and social context of post-World War I Germany, taking into consideration Wegener's violent and traumatic service on the Western front. She closely analyzes the film's expressive sculptural aesthetic, enhanced through poetic cinematography, arguing that Wegener's animation of cinema also served a postwar ethical purpose: revealing the human face of the golem and offering a redemptive escape from the the film's Christian-Jewish conflict through nature on the one hand and Zionism on the other.
Introduction: The Ethics of Animation
How Wegener Came to the Golem
Light and Clay: A Sculptural Aesthetic
Poelzig's "Golem City"
Cinematic Jewishness
The Clay of War
Combat at Court
The Face of Things
Epilogue: The Afterlives of The Golem, How He Came into the World
Credits
Notes

MAYA BARZILAI is Associate Professor of Hebrew Literature and Jewish Culture, University of Michigan.

Paperback

9781640140301

September 2020

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9781787449206

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9781800100176

September 2020

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Title Details

86 Pages

1.9 x 1.33 cm

32 color. 6 b/w. Illustrations

Series: Camden House German Film Classics

Imprint: Camden House