As a long-standing staple of classic horror and Jewish film culture, The Golem is brought to life by Reboot, an arts and culture nonprofit that reinvents and recreates Jewish traditions.
For 100 years, german silent horror film The Golem: how it came into the world captivated the audience.
The 1920 release, directed by Paul Wegener, takes viewers on a journey through 16th-century Prague, where a rabbi creates a giant clay creature animated by witchcraft. The role of the Golem: saving the Jewish community in Prague from persecution, a hot topic for millennia.
As a long-standing staple of classic horror and Jewish film culture, The Golem is brought to life by Reboot, an arts and culture nonprofit that reinvents and recreates Jewish traditions. Latest effort sees New York-based organization split The Golem in an episodic series complete with new film scores, commentary on his legacy.
The new film scores, which will include music by Detroit artist Gretchen Davidson, combine the work of many renowned musicians and members of bands such as the Flaming Lips and Los Lobos, among others.
“The Golem is an amazing confluence around an important moment in cinematic horror films as well as a quintessential Jewish story, ”says David Katznelson, CEO of Reboot,“ which has woven into the fabric of this larger story around monsters that we tell and tell through the film. “
Often hailed as the “Jewish Frankenstein”, The Golem has long been considered an inspiration for Boris Karloff’s 1931 film Frankenstein. It also helped create one of the best-known Jewish fables about the occult which continues to be passed down from generation to generation.
On the occasion of the film’s 100th anniversary of its theatrical release (which hit theaters in 1921, a year after its premiere), the new Golem reboot will be available to stream on October 28 on the Reboot website, just in time for Halloween weekend. This is what Katznelson calls “a true Jewish story”.
“There are themes about the occult, ghosts, Jewish history, and how Hollywood views Jews,” Katznelson says of the classic film, which will be split into eight separate episodes. “We see this idea of creation in the past when our Torah talks about it, but we also see it in the modern world. “
Each of the eight episodes will delve deep into The Golem unseen in the original film. Filled with expert commentary, new music and history on the film’s 100 years of influence, the episodes will take on a documentary feel while playing out the original cuts.
“We were very keen to bring together different voices that could add comments to the themes present in The GolemKatznelson says. Dr Ken Goldberg, for example, will speak during the reboot. The professor of robotics at UC Berkeley has written extensively on The Golem, connect it to the current use of robotics and addiction to artificial intelligence.
Other commentators will include film historians, academics and composers. “The people we’ve asked to comment will give their thoughts on what we hope will be a great experience in the film,” adds Katznelson.
All eight episodes will be hosted by mythologist, writer and podcaster John K. Butcher and historical communicator and podcaster Torri Yates-Orr. Each with their own dedicated theme, the episodes will cover topics like music and mysticism, magic, how The Golem connects to the future, and different ways it has been portrayed in movies, myths, and pop culture over the decades.
“You suddenly see it as a section-by-section movie,” Katznelson says of the decision to split the movie into an episodic series. “Cutting the film allowed me to really dive into it.”
Adding music to the previously silent film helps viewers reimagine the story of The Golem even more. While some people haven’t seen the original film, Katznelson is hopeful that the reboot will encourage audiences to explore its enduring history and legacy on their own.
“You get that visceral feeling when you listen to this modern music attached to these old images,” Katznelson explains. “It brings these images to life in a whole new way.”
Yet, 100 years later, the subjects The Golem the touches – anti-Semitism, creation myths and the dark side of Hollywood – continue to persist today. “The idea of its relevance and regularity in life,” Katznelson said of the film, “it’s pretty amazing.”
Stream Le Golem on https://rebooting.com from October 28.