The keys to German expressionist cinema

Expressionism is an avant-garde movement that reaches its zenith in the interwar period. This artistic movement is also manifested in film productions (mainly in Germany). Expressionism is a vital attitude towards the time they have lived, it is a cry of anguish and rejection.

The most relevant characteristics of this cinetrophic current are:

Context: Period of Entreguerras. Appears in the Weimar Republic. Germany has been defeated in the First World War and after the Versailles Pact lives a traumatic situation (disenchantment, destruction, ruin, misery, deep economic, social and political crisis, humiliation, etc.). The cinema appears as an element of evasion.

Screenplay: Expressionist films are divided into acts. They represent unreal worlds and arguments alien to reality, distorted.

German expressionism of Eva Avila

The peak works of German expressionism:

The cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) of director Robert Wiene

It is the first silent expressionist film film, the best known and emblematic.

Through a flashback, he tells the story of Doctor Caligari, a hypnotist who uses his powers to commit murders through the mediation of a strange being named Cesare. Dr. Caligari’s cabinet plays with magic and divination through destiny that a mad seer (Cesare), a psychiatric director, predicts to a young man.

The story is a metaphor criticizing the behavior of the German government during the war: Caligari, who represented the State, induced a sleepwalker, the people, to carry out murders. Cesare, trained to kill, was an innocent victim of Caligari’s desire for domination, who, above, was the director of the asylum, deciding who was healthy and who was not.

Nosferatu (1922) by Murnau

Free adaptation of the fantastic novel “Dracula”. It tells the story of Count Orlok, masterfully interpreted by Max Schreck (for many connoisseurs the best interpretation of Dracula). The tape was a free and unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker’s novel.

News: front Image related to the expressionist aesthetic of rolling everything indoors and decorated, rolls in carefully chosen natural settings, mixing in a great way

reality and fantasy With clear influences of Chinese shadows. The lighting of the film is probably one of Murnau’s greatest achievements, he used the tack, a technique that dyed the negative blue to simulate the night and in sepia to simulate daytime environments. Another novelty has to do with the protagonists: the monster, Nosferatu falls in love (myth of beauty and the beast / Influences of Romanticism). It will influence all later versions of Dracula and horror movies in general.

Metropolis (1927). Fritz Lang

It is the peak work of expressionism and one of the most emblematic films of Ha del cine. It is a silent and science fiction movie. Characterized by the monumentality of futuristic architectural designs. The script was written by his wife Thea Von Harbou.

The film poses the problem of the working class. Work as an alienation of the individual. The dichotomy between exploiter and exploited / between machines and men / between the big Brother (the repressive power that sees everything) and the alienated working class. What translates into a conservative ideology, a call to worker calm, to the idyllic understanding between exploiter and exploited. Fraternal love in the face of inequality. This film will influence many later such as Modern Times by Charles Chaplin or Blade Runner by Ridley Scott, 1982.

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