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The Wandering Jew (1905)

Le juif errant (original title)
Based on an early 13th century myth, this short film tells the story of a Jew who is forced to walk throughout eternity having refused water to Christ on his way to Calvary. He falls asleep... See full summary »

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Based on an early 13th century myth, this short film tells the story of a Jew who is forced to walk throughout eternity having refused water to Christ on his way to Calvary. He falls asleep and sees a vision of himself as a youth, when he refused the water Christ asked of him; he plods on and runs into Satan who beats him with his staff; he makes his way through a frightful storm. On and on he goes, forced to walk through time until the Second Coming. Written by Tornado_Sam

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Short | Drama

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10 May 1905 (Denmark)  »

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The Wandering Jew  »

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1.33 : 1
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Remade as The Wandering Jew (1933) See more »

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Errand or Errant?
31 December 2009 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

To the modern eye, this is obviously a trick film made with double exposure; and Melies, in his role as the Wandering Jew, is quite over the top as he wanders through a field of hard stones, having dreams and visions of Christ on his way to Calvary, the devil tormenting him and of the Mother of God. To a Frenchman of the era, who quite probably saw this film at a fairground -- a prime audience for Melies in this era -- it is simply and purely a movie of faith --- and a certain amount of anti-Semitism, too.

Still, for the time frame it is quite a beautiful, what with Melies ' carefully painted backgrounds lending a three-dimensional air to the film. And for those of us who love Melies' work under any circumstances, it is a temptation to go back to the Europa Film Archives website and look at it again right now.


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