Goethe-Kino Pandora’s Box

Tom Schilling as Nico in Oh Boy Photo: Oh Boy © Jan-Ole Gerster

Wed, 31.05.2017


Goethe-Institut London

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the death of G.W. Pabst on 29 May 2017, we present one of his most iconic films. The Austrian born director is often named alongside Fritz Lang and F.W. Murnau as one of the great directors of Weimar Cinema. Based on two plays by the German author Frank Wedekind, Erdgeist (Earth Spirit, 1895), which Pabst himself had directed for the stage, and Die Büchse der Pandora (Pandora's Box, 1904), the silent drama follows the tumultuous life of the showgirl Lulu whose unselfconscious sexuality brings about the ruin of all those that fall for her and eventually her own.

In a daring move, Pabst chose a little known American actress over the more experienced Marlene Dietrich for the part of Lulu, a decision that made the young Louise Brooks a star. Her innocent looks paired with her natural erotic allure and sense of movement – Brooks was also a dancer – perfectly matched Pabst’s idea of his heroine as unwitting seductress. Subjected to cuts to eliminate some of its “scandalous” content and unfavourably reviewed by critics at the time, it is now considered one of the boldest and most modern films of the Weimar era highlighting Pabst’s command of camera language and montage.

We are presenting the film in the restored version overseen by the Deutsche Kinemathek with music by Fassbinder collaborator and composer Peer Raben.

Germany 1929, Black and white, DCP, 135 mins, silent with pre-recorded musical soundtrack. Director: Georg Wilhelm Pabst. With: Louise Brooks, Fritz Kortner, Franz Lederer, Alice Roberts, Gustav Diessl.

Presented as part of the Goethe-Kino.