Golem, The: Paul Wegener’s Silent Masterpiece

The 51st San Francisco Film Fest announced a special event: Black Francis of the Pixies will perform the world premiere of his newly composed original score for the 1920 German expressionist silent masterpiece, The Golem.

The program premieres at the Castro Theatre on Friday, April 25 at 9:30 pm.

The last in a trilogy of films based on the golem myth by director Paul Wegener and emblematic of the German expressionist film movement, The Golem follows a rabbi’s creation of the Golem, a Frankenstein-like creature sculpted from rough clay and brought to life through sorcery to protect the threatened Jewish Ghetto. Wegener’s treatment of this legend depicts a world of secrets, magic and anxiety capable of producing amazing discoveries and insights, as well as horrific power.

The Golem has served as the inspiration for the Frankenstein creature and numerous subsequent man-made monsters in the movies. The film, shot by ace cinematographer Karl Freund (Metropolis 1927, The Last Laugh, 1924) will be screened in a beautiful archival print.

The Golem remains one of the most enigmatic and beautiful films of the silent era.  Its mysteries continue to open themselves up to us.” With his longstanding interest in the mystical and otherworldly, Francis is a perfect fit to offer up a new interpretation of this classic through his original musical composition.

Known as Black Francis when he fronted the hugely influential rock band the Pixies, the man whose given name is Charles Thompson began to record as Frank Black after the Pixies’ breakup in 1993. He continued to record prolifically as a solo artist and with the band the Catholics until the Pixies reformed in 2004. After releasing the ten-year retrospective Frank Black 93-03 in summer 2007, Black reverted to the name Black Francis and the associated musical sound with his late 2007 solo release Bluefinger. Regardless of his current moniker, Francis is known as one of the most eminent songwriters and performers of his generation, who, along with the Pixies, is referenced as an influence by contemporary musical groups from Nirvana to Radiohead to Weezer, which speaks to both his musical and lyrical genius.