Dr Cathy Gelbin: Monstrous Desires: Jewish-Christian Boundary Crossings in Paul Wegener’s The Golem (Germany, 1920)
FilmTalk 2010/2011: “I’ll have what she’s having” Jews loving gentiles; gentiles loving Jews
21 October 2010, 7pm at The Wiener Library
This talk looks at the eroticized portrayal of Jewish-Christian relations in Paul Wegener’s classic The Golem, one of the iconic films of the silent era. Set in late Renaissance Prague, Wegener’s film shows the creation of a golem, an artificial human being from clay, according to medieval Jewish mysticism. As the being assumes a life of its own and stalks the ghetto, we witness the unfolding of forbidden desires between Christian and Jew, monster and human. The talk will trace how Wegener, by invoking Shelley’s Frankenstein, portrays the gentile’s image of the Jews’ essentially ‘different’ body and soul. The film seems to anticipate the doomed project of the German-Jewish symbiosis.
Cathy Gelbin is Senior Lecturer in German at the University of Manchester. She specializes in German-Jewish culture, Holocaust Studies, gender and film. Her new monograph The Golem Returns: From German Romantic Literature to Global Jewish Culture is forthcoming in 2010 (University of Michigan Press).
FilmTalk Lectures are held at the Wiener Library, 4 Devonshire Street, London W1W 5BH and begin at 7.00pm.
Underground: Regent’s Park, Great Portland Street
Bus: C2, 18, 27, 30, 88, 453
Admission is free, but places are limited and must be reserved in advance by contacting the Leo Baeck Institute (t: +44 (0)20 7580 3493 or email ).