Pure From Pyre

With the brutally beautiful swells of “Siegfried’s Funeral March” swooping around inside your skull, it can be easy to forget composer-philosopher Richard Wagner’s less glorious moments. For example, there was the time his second wife, Cosima, caught him saying, “All Jews should be burned at a performance of Nathan the Wise.” Or maybe you’re thinking about that other notorious Wagnerism: “Only one thing can redeem you [Jews] from the burden of your curse: the redemption of Ahasverus — total destruction.”

In any case, if you’re a fan of Richard Wagner the transcendent musical genius, there’s absolutely no way to escape his evil twin, the flaming anti-Semite; it’s a package deal. So when you sit your ass down at Cinema Paradiso this Sunday for the almost five-hour film version of Götterdämmerung (Twilight of the Gods), take note of the telling details. Isn’t that tutti brass badass? Aren’t director Carlus Padrissa’s flaming videos and laser squiggles awesome? But why does it feel like Wagner is whispering in my ear that the “Niebelungs are evil little Jew demons”?
Sun., Aug. 22, 1 p.m., 2010

 
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