The Ancient Law

The Ancient Law

A FILM BY: Ewald André Dupont
WRITTEN BY: Heinrich Laube (memoirs), Paul Reno
STARRING: Henny Porten, Ruth Weyher, Hermann Vallentin

Featuring live original music by Donald Sosin and Alicia Svigals

Before the rise of the Third Reich, Weimar-era silent cinema offered complex depictions of Jewish communities in Germany. One of the finest efforts of E.A. Dupont (Varieté, Picadilly), THE ANCIENT LAW follows Baruch (Ernst Deutsch), a rabbi's son who longs for the cosmopolitan lights of Viennese theater. A respectful presentation of shtetl life that also acknowledges the pull of modernity, THE ANCIENT LAW has been newly restored by Deutsche Kinemathek in a version that accurately reconstructs the tinting and intertitle text for the first time.

Tour sponsored by the Sunrise Foundation for Education and the Arts


Donald Sosin (pianist and composer) grew up in Rye, NY and Munich, Germany. Since 1971 has performed his silent film music at Lincoln Center, MoMA, the Kennedy Center, and major film festivals here and abroad. He records for Criterion, Kino, Milestone and TCM. He has played his scores for Jewish-themed silent films at the New York, Cleveland, and Washington Jewish Film Festivals. His one-act opera for families, Esther, was performed at the National Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Mass. Other Jewish music includes a short children's opera, A Parakeet Named Dreidel, Yiddish folk song arrangements, and Three Psalms, premiered in 2009 by the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra.He and his family live in northwest Connecticut. Donald is currently touring with Alicia Svigals, performing her score for The Yellow Ticket and their collaborative score for Das Alte Gesetz.

Violinist/composer Alicia Svigals is the world's leading klezmer fiddler and a founder of the Grammy-winning Klezmatics. She has worked with violinist Itzhak Perlman, the Kronos Quartet, playwrights Tony Kushner and Eve Ensler, poet Allen Ginsburg, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, Debbie Friedman and Chava Albershteyn. Svigals was awarded a Foundation for Jewish Culture commission for her original score to the 1918 film The Yellow Ticket, and is a MacDowell fellow. With jazz pianist Uli Geissendoerfer, she recently released a recording of contemporary interpretations of klezmer music from a long-lost Soviet Jewish archive.

Technical Information

Production Year: 1923
Country of Origin: Germany
Run Time: 135 mins
Format: DCP