4.9/10
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6 user 1 critic

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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Melies Telling of Christ
25 August 2011 | by See all my reviews

Le juif errant (1904)

*** 1/2 (out of 4)

aka The Wandering Jew

This here isn't your typical trick film from the French master as it's clear Melies wanted to make a religious picture and boy does he hit a home run. We see an elderly Jewish man having to walk throughout eternity for his role in the death of Christ. As the man walks we see Christ being led to his death as back in real time the old man is haunted by the Devil and eventually visited by an angel. I've seen well over a hundred films from Melies and it's clear the man made just about every type of movie imaginable but I was still shocked to see this one. As with a select few of his films, Melies used a narrator to help explain what was going on in terms of story and this narration was a nice touch as it actually helps the story move along (it's also important to remember that title cards weren't being used yet). I really thought the images contained some striking and surreal moments and especially the one where the old man sees Jesus heading towards the cross. Another powerful sequence is when he runs into the Devil who nearly beats him to death. The "message" of the film is quite loud and clear but it's never overly preachy and one can't help but be impressed by the storytelling.


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