German Expressionism In Film Essay

2632 words - 11 pages

Bullet etched buildings covered with mismatched checkered plaster and paint jobs are starting to become more prevalent then the original war vandalized structures. This same covering up that is occurring in Berlin is the same covering up which is hiding the evidence of German expressionism in film. In simplest terms German expressionism was created by World War 1 and was ended by World War 2. To also be concise on the definition of what German expressionism is, mind you it doesn?t work in all cases, it can be said that it attempts to ?re-approriate an alienated universe by transforming it into a private, personal vision.? So where exactly did it start, where did it go, who was part of it and why did it have such an influence on cinema.On a recent trip to see the influences and grounds of its creation it was slightly devastating to not only find any evidence of it but on its own soil to see that even German film students no longer acknowledge its impact in there work or at least acknowledge its influence. After a while of thinking about all of this realizing the only thing that can be logical evidence is architecture, this statement came up to mind, ?its like coming to America trying to look for the wild west, time erased it for it only served its purpose when it was needed.? So what is German Expressionistic cinema and where did it start.The questions of who started it and where did it begin can be argued to death but there are some key points which are agreed upon by most historians and critics. The French filmmaker and former magician, Melies was and is still quoted as the first horror film director. His filmmaking career went from about 1902 to 1908 with such pieces as ?Trip to the Moon?. He was the first to do something in a highly stylistic approach, which can be reasoned as his taste for theatrics for all his movies were made on sets and his actors? makeup, and costumes were likewise. From Melies was the first actual stylization of cinema to the degree that German expressionism was going to take it to.Another important element that is found in German Expressionism is an element, which is connected with most horror films. The element is not a stylistic element or something that can be seen rather it is a concept. The concept is Todorov?s fantastic; a concept in which the leading character is in the dilemma if what he is seeing is fantasy or reality. This pivotal point is almost always found within early German cinema. One of the most prime examples of the use of this concept is found in Robert Weine?s film ?Cabinet of Dr. Caligari?. In the course of the film the audience is watching the story from a view of a character that believes a crime was committed upon his friend. This crime was committed by a servant of Dr. Caligari. The lead character knows who did it but needs the help of the authorities. Eventually when they finally catch up with Dr. Caligari they place him into a mental hospital. In the next scene that happens it is quickly...

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