The Latest Lens | March 2021
Ernst Lubitsch, Germany, 1920
A special edition of our LAYKA Lens series in partnership with the Thomas Mann House, this month we look at Ernst Lubitsch’s 1920 silent feature Sumurun. The LAYKA panel will take on this film, whose appearance in Thomas Mann’s 1924 masterpiece The Magic Mountain, provides an early example of cross-pollination between the arts.
Based on an “Orientalist pantomime,” Sumurun has been often criticized for its heavy use of stereotypes and historical distortion, yet the film’s orientalism is also a European projection that tells us much about the social order in the aftermath of the First World War and in the early Weimar Republic.