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Expressionist Film

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  • 1. LECTURE TWO: The early ExpressionistCinema: fairy tales, magicand the mysterious shadow world of early Weimar
  • 2. First aim of module is to explore Weimar cinema as a national cinemaLater we will look at the transnational connectionsWhat does Weimar refer to? The German cinema (in its broadest sense) from 1919 to 1933 (corresponds to the ‘Weimar Republic’, which was the first democratically elected national government that Germany had encountered)
  • 3.  WEIMAR CINEMA Stresses political and ideological aspects of the period and acknowledges aspects of the film’s reception. Term which embraces all forms of filmmaking during the period. ‘Expressionism’ just one of these.
  • 4.  ‘Golden age’ Key era for development of film as artistic and avant- garde medium Strong influence on subsequent film production Important and exciting era for all the arts, including those closely related to cinema, such as visual arts, architecture, photography, dance MODERNISM
  • 5. Kurt Schwitters
  • 6. Georg Grosz
  • 7.  Robert Wiene (The Cabinet of Dr Caligari )
  • 8.  Fritz Lang (Metropolis, M, Destiny, Dr Mabuse)
  • 9.  Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau (The Last Laugh, Nosferatu, Faust)
  • 10.  Georg Wilhelm Pabst (Pandora’s Box, Diary of a Lost Girl, The Joyless Street)
  • 11.  Paul Wegener (The Golem)
  • 12.  EXPRESSIONIST FILM Specific type of film which came to the fore in the early Weimar period Modernist Art movement (early 20th century) Term stresses the formal or aesthetic aspects of film production with emphasis on the author or director Strongly evident in the first few years of the Republic, 1918 – 1923) Film as an art form
  • 13.  Art movement Abstraction, fragmentation, distortion Focus is on the expression of psychological rather than physical realism
  • 14.  Impressionism (late 1800s) Claude Monet Expressionism (early 1900s) Wassily Kandinsky
  • 15. Closer connection to ExpressionismCaspar David Friedrich 1818
  • 16.  Prestige art films aimed at raising profile and reputation of the German film at home and abroad Artistically ambitious Pushing the boundaries of what film could achieve aesthetically and thematically Prefigured avant-garde film as well as Hollywood genre films (horror, film noir, family melodrama for example)
  • 17.  The outsider/insider Doppelgänger (doubles) Narrative structure: Oedipal scenarios (rebellion followed by submission to the law of the father) lack of continuity of narrative (interiority) Sources from other media (literature; theatre: Max Reinhardt) Intertexuality Scratching beneath the surface of reality and fantasy, appearances and disguise Anxiety; Insanity; Uncanny; Ghostly
  • 18.  Set designs: Artificiality Painterly Angular Shapes Fragmentary Distorted perspectives
  • 19.  Action: Emotional Unnatural Jerky movement Exaggerated gestures Fragmentary
  • 20.  Lighting: Soft light Hard keylight Chiaroscuro (single key light from the side) Extract from The Cabinet of Dr Caligari: What aspects of Expressionism can you recognise?