Essay Expressionismus

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The world in which Wiene presents to us in is one of darkness and uncertainty.

To achieve this darkness, set designer Hermann Warm decided to paint much of the background props as supposed to constructing them. The streets of the town spiral off into the distance essentially heading nowhere.

The use of artificial shadow and the jagged buildings give the look that the town could collapse in on itself at any moment.

As the film progresses, the horrid landscape of Holstenwall town can be seen as a representation of the characters psyche.

The plot follows the dark and twisting story of the mysterious Dr.

Caligari (Werner Krauss) who uses a somnambulist (Conrad Veidt) to commit murder in the villages he visits.Every second film made in Germany at this time contained elements of expressionism with in them.Released in 1920, has been labelled the quintessential example of German expressionist cinema.German expressionism was an art movement that began life around 1910 emerging in architecture, theatre and art.Expressionism art typically presented the world from a subjected view and thus attempted to show a distorted view of this world to evoke a mood or idea.It should be noted, that no manifesto was drawn up for expressionism unlike the French New Wave and the surrealist movement.German cinema of the 1920’s was dominated by expressionism from screenplays, to set designs, the shadow of the art movement was impossible to escape.When all these aspects were brought together the result was usually a dark film with plenty of subtext to them.The atrocities of World War One started to manifest themselves in German cinema through the horror genre.The most striking aspect of director Robert Wiene’s horror masterpiece is the style and tone of the film, which left the German public both horrified and enthralled.Today contemporary critics and audience alike are still hypnotised by the set designs and tone of .


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