2002-10-01-Der Müde Tod
Fritz Lang silent film from 1921. I saw a video transfer with live piano accompaniment as I sat in on the German Film Class. The pianist was amazing, his entire performance was created on the fly, looking at his dramatic notes and at the film as it played. It was really something, at times I forgot he was there I’m so used to recorded music. He said that each time he accompanies a movie it is different since he ad-libs it. A really interesting guy, also from the Ukraine. The film itself dealt with a young couple whose love is stronger then death. Or so die Junge Maedchen think, until she is challenged by Der Tod to prove it. The film follows Death as he arrives in a small German village, and then follows Love in a series of vignettes around the world: The Middle East, Italy, and China. The Chinese section in particular was full of ripe stereotypes. But I suppose this is the 1920’s German perspective. Der Tod was played wonderfully by Bernhard Goetzke, who has a menacing and solemn yet depressed look. Great visual tricks with candles representing lives. One shot in particular has Der Tod cradling a flame which turns into a baby then disappears. Very impressive stuff. Makes me wish I enjoyed Lang’s film noir more.]
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