The IFC and the Goethe-Institut are pleased to present a special screening of the great F. W. Murnau’s Tartuffe with live musical accompaniment adapted from the original score by Guiseppe Becce and performed by Pierre Oser.
Following the success of The Last Laugh, Murnau again joined forces with actor Emil Jannings for this underrated adaptation of the Moliere comedy. Jannings plays the title character, a religious hypocrite who capitalises on the piety of others to line his own pockets. Lusting after Elmire (Lil Dagover), the daughter of gullible millionaire Orgon (Werner Krauss), Tartuffe all but convinces Orgon to hand over Elmireoand all his land holdingsoin exchange for divine absolution
Murnau and scriptwriter Carl Mayer added a modern framing story concerning an old woman who tries to cheat an old man out of a fortune while the two of them watch a production of the Moliere play. This film-within-the-film device is just one of the Murnau’s highly cinematic devices. Another of the film’s outstanding qualities is its use of light, both natural and artificial, to create a very lively interplay of shadows and contrasts. As in The Last Laugh, Murnau again proves himself a master at telling a telling a story using exclusively non-verbal means. The mise en scene is beautifully modulated and the performances are first-rate.
Germany, 1926. Black and white. 71 mins.

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