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What is German Expressionism?

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What is German Expressionism?

  1. 1. What is German Expressionism?
  2. 2. German Expressionism• This artistic movement was in many ways a reaction to the conservative social values thatcontinued at the turn of the 20th century. Expressionist Artists rejected the stale traditions ofthe state-sponsored art academies and turned to boldly simplified or distorted forms andexaggerated, sometimes clashing colours.• Directness, frankness, and a desire to startle the viewer characterise Expressionism in itsvarious branches and arrangements.• Many of the German Expressionism artists had served in the military during World War I. Twowell-known German Expression artists, August Macke and Franz Marc, were killed and thosewho survived returned from the experience disillusioned, depressed, sometimes maimed andoften shell-shocked. The Germany to which they returned was a country overwhelmed withmajor economic, social, and political problems. Parties from both the extreme left andextreme right were bitter political enemies that shared one common goal; to overthrow thecurrent government. The final blow to an already shaky economy was the signing of theVersailles Treaty in 1919 which cost Germany not only some of its land (new states of Polandand Czechoslovakia were created) but massive amounts in reparation for the costs of the war.
  3. 3. Significant Themes(German Expressionsm)As Expressionism evolved from just after the turn of the century throughthe early 1920s, a number of crucial themes and genres came into focus,many of which reflect deeply humanistic concerns and an ambivalentattitude toward modernity.These include:• a fascination with the enticing yet often wretched experiences ofmodern urban life;• the enduring solace associated with nature and religion;• the naked body and its potential to signify primal emotion;• emotionally charged portraiture;• and, most pivotally, the need to confront the devastatingexperience of World War I and its aftermath.
  4. 4. Significant Themes(German Expressionism)As a result of an intensely rapid period ofindustrialization in the 19th century, German citiesexperienced an explosion in size and population densitybetween German unification, in 1871, and 1910. TheExpressionists approached the modern city withambivalence. On the one hand, they recognized thedehumanizing and alienating effects of an urbanlifestyle. Yet at the same time, they celebrated theexcitement and vitality of its bustling pace and manyand attractions.
  5. 5. German Expressionist StyleCharacterized by:– Directness– Frankness– a desire to startle the viewer in its various branches andarrangements.
  6. 6. German Expressionist FilmsAt the onset of World War I, the German film industrywas dominated by imported films on German screens.To combat this competition the German governmentbegan to support the film industry so that t couldcreate its own propaganda films and also to ensure aGerman film industry. The industry benefited greatlyfrom this support, securing financing for state of the artequipment and studios even in the face of globalresistance as a consequence of the First World War. Anumber of prominent German filmmakers left Germanyto work and make films in Hollywood in turninfluencing the look and feel of horror in Hollywood.
  7. 7. Mise-en-scene and GermanExpressionismFormal elements of German Expressionist filmsAccording to Nancy West from the University of Missouri,Columbia, the formal elements of German Expressionist filminclude, but are not limited to, the following:• Chiaroscuro lighting: lighting that employs extremecontrasts of light and dark, thus creating dramatic shadows• a preoccupation with mirrors, glass, and other reflectivesurfaces• the use of anthropomorphism, which is the attribution of ahuman form, human characteristics, or human behaviour tonon-human things• an interest in abstractionism, which is a style of art thatprivileges internal form over pictorial representation
  8. 8. Lighting in expressionist filmsExpressionist films use simple lighting from thefront and sides, illuminating the scene flatly andevenly to stress the links between the figuresand the décor. In some notable cases, shadowsare used to create additional distortion (seechiaroscuro lighting). ---Bordwell and Thompson
  9. 9. Formal Elements of German Expressionist FilmChiaroscuro lightinglighting that employsextreme contrasts oflight and dark, thuscreating dramaticshadows
  10. 10. Formal Elements of German Expressionist FilmChiaroscuro lightinglighting that employsextreme contrasts of lightand dark, thus creatingdramatic shadows
  11. 11. Formal Elements of German Expressionist FilmChiaroscuro lightinglighting that employs extremecontrasts of light and dark, thuscreating dramatic shadows
  12. 12. A preoccupationwith mirrors, glass,and other reflectivesurfacesFormal Elements of German Expressionist FilmPreoccupation withreflective surfaces
  13. 13. Formal Elements of German Expressionist FilmPreoccupation with reflectivesurfaces
  14. 14. Formal Elements of German Expressionist FilmPreoccupation with reflectivesurfacesA preoccupation withmirrors, glass, andother reflectivesurfaces
  15. 15. The use ofanthropomorphismanthropomorphismis the attribution of ahuman form, humancharacteristics, orhuman behaviour tonon-human thingsFormal Elements of German Expressionist FilmAnthropomorphism
  16. 16. The use ofanthropomorphismanthropomorphismis the attribution of ahuman form, humancharacteristics, orhuman behaviour tonon-human thingsFormal Elements of German Expressionist FilmAnthropomorphism
  17. 17. Formal Elements of German Expressionist FilmAnthropomorphismThe use ofanthropomorphismanthropomorphismis the attribution of ahuman form, humancharacteristics, orhuman behaviour tonon-human things
  18. 18. Formal Elements of German Expressionist FilmAnthropomorphismThe use ofanthropomorphismanthropomorphismis the attribution of ahuman form, humancharacteristics, orhuman behaviour tonon-human things
  19. 19. Abstractionism is a style of art that privileges internal form over pictorialrepresentation.Abstraction is different to a lot of more traditional styles of artbecause it is more focused on the use of imagination or ideasexpressed through emotion.Formal Elements of German Expressionist Film
  20. 20. German Expressionist Films
  21. 21. Glossary of termsmise-en-sceneFrench word meaning “placing on stage” or “put inthe scene”When applied to the cinema, mise-en-scène refers to everything thatappears before the camera and its arrangement—composition, sets,props, actors, costumes, sounds, and lighting.The “mise-en-scène”, along with the editing of a film, influence therealness of a film in the eyes of its viewersClick here to returnto LearningObjective SlideClick here to return to KeyAspects of Mise-en-sceneSlide
  22. 22. Glossary of termsMOTIFIn narrative, a motif is any recurring elementthat has symbolic significance in a story.Through its repetition, a motif can help produceother narrative (or literary) aspects such astheme or mood.Click here toreturn to‘Gothic-HorrorSlide’
  23. 23. Glossary of termsCharacterisationCharacterisation : information that is givenabout a characterThis information can be given explicitly (tolddirectly) or implicitly (told indirectly).Click here toreturn to‘Characterisationslide’
  24. 24. Glossary of termsMultimodalMore than oneWay of CommunicatinginformationTherefore, a multimodal text is a text that uses more than one system ofcommunication. Multimodal texts often employ systems of visual, audial andtextual communications, because they (when working together) increaseaudiences level of engagement and interest.Click here to returnto Outline ofAssessment SlideClick here toreturn to LearningObjectives Slide

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