The story of the Golem in Jewish folklore is centuries old. The last time it was filmed was over a century ago. Part of a Golem trilogy, only parts of the original German film remain. According to various online sources, the golem grew from ancient Jewish myths, the most common involving a 16th century rabbi who created it to protect Jews from anti-Semites.
This latest incarnation of the golem legend, filmed in English, is directed by Israel’s Paz brothers. Their extraordinary tale of good versus evil begs to be seen on a big screen. Beautifully filmed on location in Eastern Europe, the film has scary moments, but the focus on character and plot make it much more than a typical horror film.
“The Golem” centers on a young Lithuanian woman named Hannah, superbly acted by Hani Furstenberg. Hannah, a strong, independent woman, battles both inner demons and outside forces. After the death of her child seven years earlier and her inability to conceive again, Hannah is devastated. With the help of a rabbi, they conjure a golem, a young boy made of clay.
With its depictions of grief and loss, sexism, Jewish tradition, sickness, and village life, “The Golem” offers a unique narrative not often found in horror films. The slow unraveling of the story requires focus and strict attention that demands your commitment. “The Golem” is a film that you will not soon forget.
Bruce Kahn is a retired technical editor, and worked for IBM for more than 30 years. He and his wife Pam live in Brookhaven.