Musical accompaniment by violinist Alicia Svigals and pianist Donald Sosin
The digital restoration of this lost gem from the silent era gets its NYC premiere at this year’s NYJFF, featuring a new score and live accompaniment by pianist Donald Sosin and klezmer violinist Alicia Svigals. In a shtetl in Galicia, the son of a rabbi gets a bug for acting and is swept into a glamorous lifestyle, much to the chagrin of his very traditional father. The son becomes the object of a Viennese archduchess’s affections, and, with a sweetheart waiting back home, he must decide between two divergent paths. The Ancient Law offers a nuanced depiction of both the shtetl and the Jewish ideals of the era, steering clear of caricature at every turn. The cinematography is spectacular, emulating the light and shadow of a Rembrandt etching.