Tuesday, 4 February 2020 – 7.30 pm
Opening Event / Stephansaal, Ständehausstraße 4

[The Bolshevik atrocities of August 21, 1919 or the terrible days of Kiev]

Germany 1919, 12 min.

One of the very rare documents of the atrocities committed by the Soviet political police, the so-called Cheka, during the beginning of the civil war in Russia, Ukraine and other provinces of the former Tsarist Russia.

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

Germany 1919/20,    78 min.

Director: Robert Wiene

The world is upside down! In a psychiatric institution, an inmate believes he recognises the head physician as the eerie Dr. Caligari who one day appeared in his home town as a fairground showman and barker. The flashback tells the story how Dr. Caligari’s medium committed crimes that also claimed the inmate’s bride. Traumatized, he arrives at the institution, where he meets the chief physician. Delusion or reality?

Contemporary critics were enthusiastic about this film, which founded film expressionism with its painted decorations, and tells a story in the style of E.T.A. Hoffmann, and which is strongly reminiscent of his novella “The Sandman”.

Accompaniment of the whole program: Stephen Horne (piano); Frank Bockius (percussion)

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (picture taken from the digital copy


You can purchase the poster(10 euros excluding shipping costs); please, send us an email.


Wednesday, 5th February 2020 – 7.00 pm
Stephansaal, Ständehausstraße 4

Wednesday, 5th February 2020 – 9.00 Uhr
Stephansaal, Ständehausstraße 4

Rose Bernd

Germany 1919, 84 min.

Director: Alfred Halm

Accompanimant: Karlsruher Improvisationsensemble (Matthias Vogt, Klavier), Hartmut Nieder (Klarinette), Bhadra H. Nofer (Perkussion)

The young, attractive but good natured too Rose Bernd (Henny Porten) is driven back and forth between several men. While one of them asks her father for her hand in the traditionall way, she has a secret rendezvous with another. However, these are observed by a third person, who blackmails Rose Bernd. When she doesn’t succumb to the sexual demands she got raped. This does not remain without consequences, so that we can anticipate the tragic outcome of this melodrama. As is usual in melodramas, the real problem is not addressed: how can the fate of mothers of illegitimate children (and their children too) be changed? Alfred Halm’s film version of Gerhart Hauptmann’s theatre piece by the same title was received favorable by the famous Nobel Prize winner.


The Return of Ulysses

Germany 1918, 58 min.

Director: Rudolf Biebrach

Accompaniment: Reiko Emura (piano) and Shinichi Minami (Percussion)

In the last year of WWI, the German men had been at war for four years, Rudolf Biebrach shot a film with Henny Porten in the leading role, which transferred the well-known plot to Upper Bavaria and, changed it strongly. Ulysses, who took ten years to return to his wife after the war, has transformed into a rejected suitor and mountain guide. His profession was too dangerous for her – whereupon he disappeared. After a long time she has to decide among the large number of suitors when a bearded stranger appears. Will he get the Edelweiss (attention – cliché!) back from the mountain?



Thursday, 6th February 2020 – 7.00 pm
Studio 3, Kino der Kinemathek Karlsruhe


Germany 1918, 85 min.

Director: Eugen Illés

Accompaniment: Stephen Horne (piano)

Pola Negri plays a worker in a cigarette factory, which instantly ‘reminds’ of the ‘Carmen’ film, in which she played the lead too, although the latter film was shot immediately after ‘Mania’. But the story takes a completely different direction; it doesn’t evolve into a romantic Amour-fou story but a melodrama with a bad ending. Mania is discovered by chance as a model for a cigarette advertisement and meets a composer who falls in love with her. However, there is also a patron of the arts who has little chance of success with Mania, but who manages to plot a clever intrigue against the composer and then blackmails Mania. She can’t endure it.

Thursday, 6th February 2020 – 9.00 pm
Studio 3, Kino der Kinemathek Karlsruhe


Germany 1918/19, 74 min.

Director: E. A. Dupont

Accompaniment: Stephen Horne (piano)

The end of WWI, the November revolution of 1919 and the connected abolition of film censorship made it possible to finally bring risky and explosive subjects to the screen. The so-called Aufklärungsflme (educational films) did not only deal with erotic topics, but everything that would have been immediately forbidden by the censors before the political changes.
This flm deals with the consequences of alcoholism. At a carnival festivity a young man confesses to his bride that he is the son of a mother, who was an alcoholic and a father, who was a murderer. He leaves the festivity – and meets his father who has escaped from prison. In flashbacks, one learns about the fates of the young man’s parents, whereas in the present the film is heading for a thrilling climax with a fire at the carnival festivity.


Friday, 7th February 2020, 4.00 pm
Studio 3, Kino der  Kinemathek Karlsruhe


Germany 1920, 57 min.
Director: Robert Wiene
Accompaniment: Sabine Zimmer (piano)

‘Genuine’ is preceded by the reputation, that Robert Wiene foremost pursued one goal with this film: to repeat the success of ‘Caligari’. And as so often in the history of cinema this went thoroughly wrong. This is why the film is rarely shown, and only a few have been able to verify the widespread prejudice. In the context of this festival, we would like to offer the audience the possibility of a direct comparison of the two films made immediately after each other.

Genuine leaves the impression off an overtwisted ghost story located in a small Irish town in. The focus is on a demonic femme fatale who loves and hates, only to find a very bad ending. Fern Andra plays this role in an exalted style, reminiscent of the Italian divas, voluptuous and cruel, tender and always in the centre of attention. JJ

Friday, 7th February 2020, 7.00 pm
Studio 3, Kino der  Kinemathek Karlsruhe

Anna Müller-Lincke is a candidate

Germany 1919, 15 min.
Director: Werner Sinn

What one might think of as a satire at first glance is actually a didactic film that skilfully explains to its audience how democratic elections work and why it is important to participate in them. He hides that by means of an uncomplicated act. All members of a family want to run in the upcoming elections; however in different parties. This leads to all sorts of complications.

Müller-Lincke was a very popular theatre and film actress, always at the centre of her films. She decides to run for election, and the other members of her family follow suit, each for a different party. This leads to all kinds of complications. But the audience also learns that in elections you can only cast one vote at a time

Accompaniment of the whole program: Günter Buchwald (piano)

A Friend of the people (OT: Folkets ven)

Denmark1918,  83 min.
Director: Holger-Madsen

The Danish film by director Holger-Madsen, who was already very successful during the war, depicts the social conflicts immediately after the end of WWI through the fate of three brothers, representing the social democrats, the communists and the anarchists. While the social democrat fights in heated parliamentary debates, the communist participates in violent uprisings and the anarchist brother commits a murderous assassination attempt.

The film was shot thoroughly with commercial reasonings in mind with a high budget and with two superstars of Danish cinema: Gunnar Tolnaes and Lilly Jacobson shone in the leading roles. Mass scenes and street fights captivated the audience. (For local reception see “Local cinema history on this website)


Friday 7th February 2020 – 9.30 pm
Studio 3, Kino der  Kinemathek Karlsruhe


Germany 1919,  91 min.
Director: Robert Reinert

Accompaniment: Günter Buchwald (piano)

“An educational film that powerful warns us of the terrible consequences of this disruptive poison” we read in a contemporary review. We see the dens of vice in India and China, the dream fantasies of opium smokers, gorgeous Indian festivals, magnificent mass scenes, wild animals of the jungle … The cinematographic  technique is up to date; the characters are a woman longing for love (Hanna Ralph), neglected by her husband, the explorer torn between life and science, the assistant of the professor and lover of his wife (Conrad Veidt), finally as the chief villain Werner Krauss in the role of the Chinese (!) owner of an opium den, and some more characters that make the story mysterious, opaque and suspenseful.
A link to the Berlinale Archive, where the film was shown 2018: https://www.berlinale.de/de/archiv/jahresarchive/2018/02_programm_2018/02_filmdatenblatt_2018_201801954.html#tab=filmStills

Werner Krauß in: “Opium”
(The actress on the left isn’t Hanna Ralph, as written unfortunately in our program brochure, JJ)
Picture: SDK, Berlin

Poster by Theo Matejko (SDK Berlin)


Saturday, 8th February 2020 – 12.00 am
Stephansaal, Ständehausstraße 4

The Girl from the Ackerstraße

Germany 1919/20,  87 min.

Director: Reinhold Schünzel

Accompaniment: Andreas Benz (piano)

Little Ella is abused by her stepfather and has to sell matches on the street. One day she escapes from her misery and is found unconscious by a professor. He takes her into his home. The parents seemingly tolerate this, but only aim at blackmailing the professor soon. A story enfolds, how it is told by several films, among others ‘Diary of a Lost Girl’. Ella becomes a victim of sexual violence. And one day the professor sees no way out. The film is an early directorial work by Reinhold Schünzel, who took over an acting part too. Very successful with the audience, two sequels followed.

Lilly Flohr and Reinhold Schünzel


Saturday, 8th February 2020, 3.00 pm
Stephansaal, Ständehausstraße 4


Germany 1921,   54 Min.
Director: Leopold Jessner (acting), Paul Leni (Image design)

Accompaniment: Günter Buchwald (piano)

An expressionistic Kammerspiel with three main characters: Henny Porten as maid, Fritz Kortner as postman and Wilhelm Dieterle as a construction worker. The protagonists have no names and are characterized only by their job title and thus determined in their social role. They live on the margins of society, in the typical backyards of Berlin, which, as the title suggests, can only be reached via backstairs. A cellar apartment, the place of the proverbial social descent, is the scene of a drama of jealousy, that takes the worst possible turn. Paul Leni designed the film sets, which decisively contributed to the gloomy atmosphere of this masterpiece of expressionist cinema.

Henny Porten and Wilhelm Dieterle


Saturday 8th February 2020 – 7.00 pm
Stephansaal, Ständehaustraße 4

Film concert

The General

USA 1926, 78 min.
Director: Buster Keaton, Clyde Bruckman

Accompaniment: Capella Obscura; Head and Composition: Cornelia Brugger

For the first time in its history the Karlsruhe Silent Film Festival presents this great classic of film history in a film concert. Under the direction of Cornelia Brugger, the Capella Obscura will definitely make this screening an unforgettable experience. As always there will be music especially composed or arranged by Cornelia Brugger.

Is it necessary to say something about the content? Well, the film is set during the time of the American Civil War. Buster Keaton plays the engineerr Johnnie Gray, whose locomotive was stolen by enemy spies from the north. Johnnie Gray/Buster Keaton not only has to reconquer the engine, but in addition he wants to win the heart of his beloved. Drama, suspense and best entertainment are guaranteed.


Video of the film concert (Vimeo): please click on the poster …

Russian poster, Design: Stenberg Brothers

Saturday 8th February 2020 – 9.00 pm
Stephansaal, Ständehausstraße 4

Closing Event
The Girl of Luxury (OT: Das Luxusweibchen)

Germany 1919, 35 min.
Director: Hans Bilrose

As the title suggests, this completely unknown film is a small, but highly entertaining comedy. The protagonist is the young Käthe (Cathy), who is considered by her fiancé, a lawyer, to be a spoiled dumb female. She doesn’t like this at all, and she decides to “tinker” with her fiancé’s business. The young lawyer has three clients, three men, who want to divorce their wives for very different reasons. One of them wants the divorce because the wife has gone to the feminine Dadaists (!). Käthe (Cathy) tries to talk the men out of the divorces. Will she succeedt?

Inge Dolf as “Das Luxusweibchen”
  The Green Vampire

Germany 1918, ca. 45 min.
Director: William Kahn

More a detective  than vampire film , this production is a kind of a genre mix. Rat Anheim, the name of the detective, is a typical omniscient master detective in the way of Sherlock Holmes. Rat Anheim is played by Heinrich Peer, who was a much employed-after actor for roles of this kind in contemporary Germany. Rat Anheim has to solve a series of murders that the mysterious “Green Vampire” is said to have committed. An intricate story with a surprising ending. That’s all we reveal for now. A beautiful tinted 35mm print has been preserved in the Federal Film Archive of Germany.


Accompaniment of the whole program: Sabine Zimmer (piano)