There are a lot of in-depth studies about this movement on books, magazines and even in the WWW, but this little essay is only the Wolf's personal reflection about the films he had the opportunity to watch -and love. Caligari is the most paradigmatical film of the early German expressionism.Brief synopsis: an ambulant fair visits a small German town. Caligari's stand, where a somnambulist named Cesare (Conrad Veidt) is advertised.
German Expressionism was one branch of a broader Expressionistic movement in European art, typified by its exploration of subjective experience, distorted perspectives, and a privileging of meaning and emotionality over physical verisimilitude and realism.
Perhaps the most archetypal example of an Expressionistic work is painter Edvard Munch's , oriented as it was in the German film world of 1920, is more specifically connected to German Expressionism, which was particularly tied to Berlin in the years after WWI.
The legacy of Expressionism can be seen in the works of Billy Wilder, Otto Preminger, Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, and others.
Unique camera angles, unusual sets, and stark lighting schemes in American films of the early 20th century owe much of their inspiration to the groundbreaking principles of German Expressionism.
Metropolis Along with Stanley Kubrick's 2001, a space odyssey (1968) and Ridley Scott's Blade Runner (1982), Fritz Lang's Metropolis is considered the height of the then called sci-fi cinema.
The influence in both posterior films is evident: Blade Runner 's opening sequences of the dark, futurist, neo-industrial L. seems to pay tribute to Metropolis astonishing cityscapes (see picture left), while in Kubrick's masterpiece the tribute is even in the title: Metropolis story line occurs in year 2000, and Kubrick place his film one year after as a tribute.Other German filmmakers fled to the United States, where they were embraced by the rapidly growing institution of Hollywood.The styles of the German Expressionists influenced two American film genres in particular: horror and film noir.Developed during a period of history that saw Germany undergo severe social, political, and economic dislocation following the country's defeat in World War I, German Expressionism conveyed a feeling of chaos through the usage of darkly violent images that reflected the state of mind of both the artist and society in general.Art became an , and the human gestures being portrayed became a reflection of the artist's personality and sensibility.They created an original, fantastic makeup that fills the film with a delirium-like imagery, and emphasizes the protagonist's own psycho-destruction.Caligari's brutal domination over the half-somnambulist/ half-zombie Cesare is easily interpretable as a metaphor of the fascist and authoritarian governments that arose in Europe in the first half of the XX century, as Siegfried Kracauer explains in his famous book From Caligari to Hitler "And when he crossed the bridge, the phantoms came to meet him." Don't ask me how, but some years ago the Wolf was lucky enough to obtain a copy of Friedrich Murnau's earliest surviving film, Schloß Vogeloed (The Haunted Castle, 1921).After the World War I and until the arising of the Nazism at the beginning of the 1930s, Germany was the birthplace of a new movie style based in the stylistic features of the expressionist movement such as the use of the chiaroscuro, oneiric atmospheres and exaggerated angles and compositions.The exact birth date of this movement must be placed at the end of 1917, when the Universum Film AG (UFA) was founded by the German government and military. Directed in 1919 by Robert Wiene, The cabinet of Dr.Robert Wiene, the director of banned by the Nazi party.He fled to Budapest, then to London, and finally to Paris.