In this silent expressionist horror film, directed by Paul Wegener (who also plays the part of the golem) the golem is awakened only to be ostracized by the community that he is meant to help. The film is set in a medieval Jewish ghetto in Prague. When Rabbi Loew sees a bad omen in the stars, the next day the Holy Roman Emperor declares that the Jews will be banished from the city within the month. The story is based on the legend of the Golem of Prague who was awakened to save the Jews when the emperor accused them of using Christian blood to make matzoh. The golem was a response to the violence inflicted on Jews on the basis of anti-Semitism.
Although this film is certainly drawn closely from the Jewish legend of the golem, do you see the film’s aesthetics as portraying Jews as necromancers, running through dark alleyways and twisted lanes or do you sympathize with the oppression they faced?
The golem that Wegner creates is aesthetically quite similar to Frankenstein. Here is an interesting site discussing the makeup artist’s intentions in designing Frankenstein in such a manner: http://members.aon.at/frankenstein/frankenstein-universal.htm.
The golem also faces similar problems to Frankenstein and begins to feel sadness, anger, and fear of excommunication. In both these stories, where does the responsibility of the maker lie? The Golem is looked at as an object of terror whose uncanny resemblance to a man only furthers this aspect of terror. As he grasps towards humanity, the citizens only begin to fear him more and more and attempt to kill or deactivate him.
Here is a link connecting Frankenstein and the legend of The Golem of Prague geared towards children: http://www.storynory.com/2010/10/25/the-golem-of-prague/
In what ways can this be seen as problematic? How are stories changed when presented to children? What does it mean to become aware of history, especially at a very young age?