Castro Theatre Thu, May 2, 2019 9:00 PM
Film Info
Director:Robert Reinert
Cast:Eduard von Winterstein
Hanna Ralph
Werner Krauß
Sybille Morel
Friedrich Kühne
Conrad Veidt
Total Run Time:91 min.


Musical accompaniment by Guenter Buchwald
Made by the unjustly forgotten Robert Reinert, Opium was the first film to come out of the director’s own production company, aptly named Monumental Films. Set in China, India, and England, it tells a story of addiction, love, and vengeance against a backdrop of opulently imagined worlds, both terrestrial and of the mind. Professor Gesellius studies the effects of the titular drug from a clinical reserve until his life takes a torturous turn and he finds himself dangerously drawn to its hallucinatory relief. When Opium premiered in Berlin, it played three straight weeks at the city’s prestigious Marmorhaus theater. One critic raved that the film “does not disappoint … planned down to the smallest detail, built at great expense, technically perfect, and never boring.” Modern audiences will be most impressed by the stunningly crisp deep-focus photography of cinematographer Helmar Lerski and the trippy drug scenes featuring garland-bedecked nudes of both sexes romping carefree in a forest glade.

Print courtesy of Filmmuseum München


Introduction by Stefan Drössler


Underwritten by the Sunrise Foundation for Education and the Arts

Copresented by Berlin & Beyond and MiDNiTES for MANiACS

Additional Information

Musical accompaniment by Guenter Buchwald

Conductor, composer, pianist, and violinist Guenter Buchwald is a pioneer of the renaissance in silent film music. He has accompanied silent films for thirty-eight years with a repertoire of more than three thousand titles and has conducted orchestras worldwide from Iceland to Romania, Tokyo to Zurich. In great demand as a composer, he has scored silent films as varied as Suzuki and Ota’s What Made Her Do It?, René Clair`s Paris qui dort, Chaplin´s Pawn Shop, and Murnau’s Nosferatu. A soloist known for his virtuoso improvisation, he has appeared regularly at film festivals in Berlin, Bonn, Bologna, Zurich, Pordenone, and Seattle. He is a lecturer at the Film Science Institute at the University of Zurich and resident conductor of the Freiburg Philharmonic Orchestra for Silent Film in Concert. He is cofounder of the Silent Movie Music Company and is musical director of Bristol’s Slapstick Silent Film Festival in England. He made his first appearance at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival in 2013.