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The Ancient Law

An important piece of German-Jewish cinematic history, Dupont’s film takes on the theme of Jewish assimilation in 19th-century Europe, contrasting the closed world of shtetl life with modern liberal society. “In the mid 1800s in Galicia, Baruch, the son of an orthodox rabbi, yearns to become an actor. Against his father’s will, he leaves the eastern European shtetl where he grew up and joins a travelling theatre troupe. Austrian archduchess Elisabeth Theresia becomes enamored of the young man. Secretly in love with him, she arranges for him to join the company at Vienna’s Burg Theatre, where he rises to become a celebrated star of the stage … With its complex portrayal of orthodoxy and emancipation, E. A. Dupont’s period film marks a highpoint of Jewish filmmaking in Germany. This new restoration marks the first time that a version corresponding to the lost 1920s German theatrical release will be shown.”—Berlin Film Festival. Silent with musical accompaniment and subtitles.

Genres: Drama