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Golems, Dybbuks & Other Movie Monsters: The Search for a Jewish Horror Film
March 12 @ 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm
This class is divided into two parts. In the first part, Mikel Koven illustrates the representation of Jews and Jewish characters. Mainstream horror cinema has been known to draw upon Jews and Jewish belief traditions as a kind of domesticated exotica. Jews are cast as either wise scholars of arcane magic, or as voices for cynical positivism, proponents of scientific rationalism in opposition to Christian metaphysics and mysticism. In many cases, the cosmology shown in these films is much less Jewish, and more likely to be Christian beliefs performing a kind of Jewish drag show.
The second part of the session explores Jewish folklore and looks to legends about Golems and Dybbuks as sources for cinematic horror. Ultimately, this class is designed to explore the relationship between cultural identity and horror cinema. Specifically, Koven discusses the extent to which these films avail themselves to Jewish lore and also maintain the cultural contexts which first developed these narratives. In other words, just how Jewish are these Jewish horror movies?