Gaukler [Les saltimbanques] (1930)

Director: Robert Land
Writer: Curt J. Braun, Herbert Rosenfeld
Cast: Max Hansen, Käthe von NagyNastia LatkaGeorges Melchior, Hermine Sterler, Louis Ralph, Nicolas Koline, Marthe Ferrare
With music by: Fabian Pollack
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 21.10.2016

Max (Max Hansen) falls in love with circus artist Suzanne (Käthe von Nagy), alienating his fiancée Daisy (Nastia Latka) and her father (Georges Melchior) by spending more and more time with the circus, a passion that probably won’t end well.

I only saw a fragment (45 min) of Der Gaukler – together with the fragment of Die Jüdin von Toledo. Unfortunately, after my immediate love for Die Jüdin von Toledo, Der Gaukler just couldn’t keep up with it.

I understand why they’d show these two fragments together. Not only do they have Robert Land in common, but they also share a certain femme fatale storyline. Only that with Die Jüdin von Toledo, the movie is firmly in the corner of the woman who may enjoy the man’s advances, but it’s not some evil plot; and ultimately she’s the one who pays the price for his attraction to her – and that’s the tragedy there.

With Der Gaukler, we’re asked to feel pity for Max, who destroys his life because Suzanne is just so alluring. She’s the one turning his head – for her own gain, of course – and he is a helpless victim who certainly can’t be held responsible for his choices. And that was annoying as fuck, and uninteresting to boot.

Pollack’s accompanying music does repeat some themes from the music for Die Jüdin von Toledo. Unfortunately he doesn’t use those repetitions to explore the parallels between the two stories, or at least if he did, it didn’t reveal itself to me, which I thought was a missed opportunity.

But in any case, the fragment did nothing but pale in comparison to the first fragment. But I’m more than glad that I booked my tickets for both because that’s how much I fell in love with the first fragment.

Summarizing: No need to look for this film.

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