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The Ancient Law (Das Alte Gesetz)

With Live Musical Accompaniment by Donald Sosin and Alicia Svigals

Nov 11, 2018, 12:45 PM Museum of Fine Arts Houston $12.00 Get Tickets

In the mid-1800s in Galicia (Spain), Baruch, the son of an orthodox rabbi, yearns to become an actor. Against his father’s will, he leaves the eastern European shtetl where he grew up and joins a travelling theatre troupe. Austrian archduchess Elisabeth Theresia falls in love with the young man and arranges for him to join Vienna’s Burg Theatre, where he rises to become a celebrated star. With its complex portrayal of orthodoxy and emancipation, E.A. Dupont’s period film marks a highpoint of Jewish filmmaking in Germany. This new restoration marks the first time that a version of the lost 1920s film will be shown in its original length with digitally restored colorization. Donald Sosin and Alicia Svigals, composer/musicians renowned worldwide for their live silent film accompaniments, have collaborated on a new musical score for this uncovered masterpiece.

Digitally restored in 2017.

Country, Year Germany, 1923
DirectorEwald Andre Dupont
CastErnst Deutsch, Henny Porten, Ruth Weyher
Runtime135 MINS, 00 SECS
SubjectFilm, Music
Event TypeLive Cinema
Special Guests

Donald Sosin

Returning to Houston Cinema Arts Festival for the fourth time  is one of the foremost silent film composers in the world, Donald Sosin. Sosin has attained 47 years of performing at major film festivals and archives from New York, San Francisco, and Seattle to Bologna, Moscow, Odessa and Shanghai. Sosin’s scores accompany silent films on over 60 DVDs on the Criterion, Kino, Milestone, and other labels, including his collaboration with klezmer violinist Alicia Svigals for Flicker Alley’s 2018 release of The Ancient Law.  He leads silent film music master classes each year at the Giornate del Cinema Muto in Pordenone, Italy. He has played in Broadway pits and at the Kennedy Center and has conducted thirty musicals. His 1800 or so sheet music arrangements are published by Hal Leonard and Cherry Lane. Commissions include the Chicago Symphony Chorus, Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, Anthology Film Archives, Museum of Modern Art, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Alicia Svigals

Returning to Houston Cinema Arts Festival, accompanying her silent film musical collaborator Donald Sosin, is the singular Alicia Svigals, the world’s leading klezmer violinist and a founder of the Klezmatics. She has performed with and written for violinist Itzhak Perlman, the Kronos Quartet, Debbie Friedman, Osvaldo Golijov, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, playwrights Tony Kushner and Eve Ensler, filmmaker Judith Helfand, poet Allen Ginsburg, and many others. Her live silent film scoring projects, the award-winning The Yellow Ticket (presented at HCAF2013) and her new score, The Ancient Law (co-composed with Donald Sosin) are touring the world to considerable acclaim. Her CD Fidl (1996) reawakened klezmer fiddle tradition. Her newest CD is Beregovski Suite: Klezmer Reimagined, with jazz pianist Uli Geissendoerfer, is an original take on long-lost Jewish music from the Ukraine.