Lupu Pick

T. alt.: Sylvester – Tragödie einer Nacht. Scen.: Carl Mayer. F.: Karl Hasselmann, Guido Seeber. M.: Luise Heilborn-Körbitz. Scgf.: Klaus Richter. Mus.: Klaus Pringsheim. Int.: Edith Posca (la donna), Eugen Klöpfer (l’uomo), Frida Richard (madre), Karl Harbacher, Julius E. Herrmann, Rudolf Blümner. Prod.: Lupu Pick per Rex-Film AG. 35mm. D.: 59’

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

At the Pordenone Silent Film Festival in 1992 Enno Patalas was left spellbound by the screening of Sylvester, this masterpiece of a Weimar Kammerspielfilm believed lost and then recently rediscovered in Japan, in the Komiya Collection. In unison we praised the velvet-like texture of the print, and soon Enno started to ponder the possibility or impossibility of aquiring a print for the Filmmuseum München.  In honour of Enno, who passed away in autumn 2018, Il Cinema Ritrovato screens the print of Sylvester he saw then, and admired and desired with all his historian’s and archivist’s passion.

Mariann Lewinsky


We invited Enno Patalas to Bologna in 1986 for the first edition of Il Cinema Ritrovato. It was a shock for me. He managed a small municipal archive, which was very similar in terms of organisation and size to Cineteca di Bologna at that time, and he was doing extraordinary work that we hadn’t even imagined. He was reconstructing the history of his country by reassembling the films of Lubitsch, Murnau and Lang. Meeting Enno was a revelation, and it was my true education. The reason that we decided to create a restoration lab in Bologna, was because Vittorio Boarini, Nicola Mazzanti and I had discovered the value and deeper meaning of film restoration thanks to Enno Patalas.

Gian Luca Farinelli


Sylvester – Tragödie einer Nacht is the fourth collaborative work of Lupu Pick and Carl Mayer following Der Dummkopf (The Blockhead, 1920), Scherben (Shattered, 1921) and Grausige Nächte (Nights of Terror, 1921). And for Mayer, it is the third Kammerspielfilm after Scherben and Hintertreppe. Mayer also wrote the original idea for the script of Die Straße (The Street, 1923), which was directed by Karl Grune around the same time. Sylvester is, in a sense, a work developed from Die Straße; here the street becomes a landscape on which the protagonist’s inner feelings are projected. The expression of the street seen in these two films would further link to the importance of the street in the films of Neue Sachlichkeit.
In the Kammerspielfilm, the tiny things in daily life that most films do not depict are observed as seen through a microscope, and the psychological movements of the people become important, represented not through the intertitles but through the subtle changes and movements of the actors’ expressions. A strong, intensive and quite different drama is born via these experiments. The camera not only witnesses the tragedy of a family over the course of one night in Sylvester, but also finally shows the world itself as a living environment – Lotte Eisner called it “Umwelt”. The objects and the landscape are shown almost as living objects. This is the animism that runs throughout this work. The protagonist dies but in this living world a new life is born.

Hiroshi Komatsu

Copy From

Restored in 2003 by National Film Archive of Japan at Imagica laboratory from a nitrate print.
This program is co-organized by National Film Archive of Japan and Fondazione Cineteca di Bologna with the generous support of Kinoshita Group.