Just what is a golem? That’s the question I had when going into the Paz Brothers’ most recent film, The Golem. According to My Jewish Learning: “A golem is a clay creature that has been magically brought to life. The name comes from the Hebrew word ‘golem,’ which means something incomplete or unfinished, like an embryo.” During my interview with director Doron Paz, he called a golem the Jewish Frankenstein. Well, color me intrigued.
Set in 1673 Lithuania, The Golem is about so much more than the creature that is summoned. It’s about a young woman named Hannah (Hani Furstenberg: The Bourgeosie TV Series) who is living through the devastation of losing a child and the inability to conceive again. It’s about her husband, Benjamin (Ishai Golan: False Flag TV Series), who has a wandering eye and must fend off the unwanted offer from his Rabbi to cast his wife away and take another.
But it’s also about the tight-knight Jewish community that they live in, a shtetl tucked away in the wilderness because, in addition to the personal trials they’re all going through, there’s a plague raging war on other villages. Their small, secluded sanctuary keeps them away from the roaming sickness, but it backfires when a group of outsiders explode upon their lives during a wedding, bringing with them plague, despair, and a dying child. As the town healer races against time to save the girl, the rest of the townspeople are kept prisoner in their own village, until one day, the golem arrives. In a climax of death and destruction, a victor arises from the ashes.
The Golem blew me away. From the breathtaking cinematography by Rotem Yaron to the brilliant score by Tal Yardeni, I was captivated from the very beginning until the last credit rolled. Doron and Yoav Paz did amazing justice to the screenplay by Ariel Cohen. There was a lot of research to ensure accuracy of the time period, and it shows. Dread Central Presents should be proud of their first original title.