German Expressionism


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German Expressionism

  1. 1. Syeda Amina Begum 13A4
  2. 3. <ul><li>German Expressionism refers to a number of related creative movements in Germany before the First World War during the 1920s. These developments in Germany were part of a larger Expressionist movement in north and central European art. </li></ul><ul><li>German Expressionism as a movement spanned many media, including theatre, architecture, music, painting and sculpture. </li></ul><ul><li>During the period of recovery following World War I, the German film industry was booming. However, because of the hard economic times, filmmakers found it difficult to create movies that could compare with the extravagant features coming from Hollywood. The filmmakers of the German Universum Film AG studio developed their own style by using symbolism and mise en scène to add mood and deeper meaning to a movie. </li></ul>
  3. 4. <ul><li>The first Expressionist films made up for their low budgets by using set designs with wildly non-realistic, geometrically absurd sets, along with designs painted on walls and floors to represent lights, shadows, and objects. </li></ul><ul><li>The plots and stories of the Expressionist films often dealt with madness, insanity, betrayal, and other &quot;intellectual&quot; topics (as opposed to standard action-adventure and romantic films). </li></ul>
  4. 6. <ul><li>The extreme non-realism of Expressionism was short-lived, fading away after only a few years. However, the themes of Expressionism were integrated into later films of the 1920s and 1930s, resulting in an artistic control over the placement of scenery, light, etc. to enhance the mood of a film. </li></ul><ul><li>This type of film making was brought to America when the Nazis gained power and a number of German filmmakers emigrated to Hollywood. These German directors found American movie studios willing to embrace their ideas, and several German directors and cameramen flourished there, producing a repertoire of Hollywood films, which had a big impact on film as a whole. </li></ul><ul><li>Horror film and film noir were two genres that were especially influenced by Expressionism. Carl Laemmle and Universal Studios had made a name for themselves by producing such famous horror films of the silent era as Lon Chaney's The Phantom of the Opera. German filmmakers such as Karl Freund (the cinematographer for Dracula in 1931) set the style and mood of the Universal monster movies of the 1930s with their dark and artistically designed sets, providing a model for later generations of horror films. Directors such as Fritz Lang, Billy Wilder, Otto Preminger, Alfred Hitchcock, and Michael Curtiz introduced the Expressionist style to crime dramas of the 1940s, expanding Expressionism's influence on modern film making. </li></ul>
  5. 8. <ul><li>As well as the direct influence of film makers who moved from Germany to Hollywood, developments in style and technique which were developed through Expressionism in Germany impressed contemporary film makers from elsewhere and were incorporated into their work and so into the body of international cinema from the 1930s onward. </li></ul><ul><li>A good example of this process can be found in the career of Alfred Hitchcock. In his third film, The Lodger, Expressionism's influence extends to set designs, lighting techniques, and trick camera work to the British public against the wishes of his studio. In his later films, this influence continued through his visual experimentation. For example, in the shower scene from Psycho , Norman Bates' blurred image seen through a shower curtain is reminiscent of Nosferatu shown through his shadow. The development of these themes and techniques are not coincidental. Hitchcock said, &quot;I have acquired a strong German influence by working at the UFA studios Berlin&quot;. Hitchcock's film making has in its turn influenced many other film makers and so has been one of the vehicles which have propelled German Expressionist techniques into the present day. </li></ul><ul><li>Elements taken from German Expressionism are common today in films that do not need reference to real places such as science fiction films (for example Ridley Scott's 1982 film Blade Runner ). </li></ul>
  6. 9. <ul><li>Ambitious adaptations of the style are depicted throughout the contemporary filmography of director Tim Burton. His 1992 film Batman Returns is often cited as a modern attempt to capture the essence of German Expressionism, by using the angular building designs and severe-looking city squares of Gotham City which evoke the loom and menace present in Lang's Metropolis . </li></ul><ul><li>Burton's influences are most apparent in the fairy tale suburban landscape of Edward Scissorhands . The appearance of Edward Scissorhands (not accidentally) reflects Caligari's somnambulist servant. Burton casts unease in his candy-colored suburb, and the tension is visually unmasked through Edward and his Gothic castle. Burton overthrows or corrupts the Caligari nightmare with an inspired narrative branding, casting the overly ostentatious somnambulist as the hero and the villagers as the villains. </li></ul><ul><li>The familiar look of Caligari's main character can also be seen in the movie The Crow . With the tight, black outfit, white makeup, and darkened eyes, Brandon Lee's character is obviously a close relative to Burton's film Edward Scissorhands . </li></ul>
  7. 10. <ul><li>Burton was also reportedly influenced by silent films and German Expressionism for his film adaptation of the musical Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street , describing the musical as a &quot;silent film with music.&quot; </li></ul>