Der Fluch [The Curse] (1925) + Gabriela Montero

Der Fluch
Director: Robert Land
Writer: Walter ReischErnst Weizmann
Cast: Oscar Beregi Sr.Lilian Harvey, Ferdinand BonnAlbert HeineAnny HornikReinhold HäussermannRia JászonyiAnton Pointner
Part of: Film and Music Cycle in the Konzerthaus
With music by Gabriela Montero
Seen on: 10.10.2017

Jehuda (Oscar Beregi Sr.) impresses the young Lea (Anny Hornik) and Lea’s devout father Esra (Albert Heine) agrees to their engagement. But before they can actually get married, Jehuda falls for Rahel (Ria Jászonyi) and not caring much for Lea, leaves her. Heartbroken Lea commits suicide. Esra confronts Jehuda and curses him, but Jehuda is unwilling to contemplate his part in the tragedy for many years.

Der Fluch didn’t really work for me. While it was interesting to get an authentic look at a Jewish settlement from a pre-World War 2 time, nothing else about the film really managed to convince me.

I had several problems with the story, starting with the fact that it’s pretty much litterered with women who have to die to teach men a lesson. Plus there is the plot where the softie has to be toughened up before he can be considered worthy of love/a woman. And for a film that’s all about a Jewish community, for some reason it takes a Christian man to come in and show those Jews how to be a good man which is really problematic to say the least.

It’s a pity because there are so few old films which portray Jewish communities at all and I also liked that they showed the co-existence between Christians and Jews, but that moral turn simply gives it an antisemitic note that soured things for me.

Montero’s music was nice and – as far as I can tell – very well played, but it also faded into the background a little too much for me. I usually don’t mind that when watching a film, but in this particular context – a live music performance in a concert venue – the music should stand out a little more.

This all boils together to a distinctly lukewarm event. The film is short, but feels long, the music was nice but not memorable and the setting interesting, but the story problematic. A difficult combination to win me over – and it didn’t.

Summarizing: It was okay.

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