Valeria Rodríguez . German expressionism. Movement. In february 1920 The cabinet of Dr. Caligari premiered in Berlin . Stylized sets, strange , disorted buildings painted on canvas .
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German expressionist films produced in the Weimar republic immediately following the First World War not only encapsulate the sociopolitical contexts in which they were created, but also rework the intrinsically modern problems of self-reflexivity, spectacle and identity.
The creators of the time sought to show a deeper truth.
Expressionism would eventually be applied to represent any approach to art that would demonstrate a distorted reality as well as a depiction of the artist's mental state of being.
As the term "Expressionists" suggest, the works created by theses artists were renderings of their individual and personal perceptions of their subject.
These artists were less concerned with the speed and spontaneity associated with expressionism than they were of creating works of art that would challenge and undermine the accepted taste. Expressionists began to call upon their personal experiences to illustrate the negative aspects of German life .
Anti-heroic (if not downright evil) characters at the center of the story.
which often involves madness, paranoia, obsession .
is told in whole or in part from a subjective point of view.
A primarily urban setting (there are exceptions, particularly in the case of Murnau), providing ample opportunity to explore...
the criminal underworld.
and the complex architectural and compositional possibilities offered, for example, by stairways and their railings, mirrors and reflecting windows, structures jutting every bit as vertically as they do horizontally so that...
the director can play with stripes, angles and geometric forms sliced from the stark contrasts between light and shadow.
Shadows, in fact, can take on an ominous presence of their own; think of the monster's shadow ascending the stairs in Nosferatu, the shadow preceding the murderer in M or the pursuit and capture of Maria in Metropolis.
The first Expressionist films, The Golem (1920), The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920), Destiny (1921), Nosferatu (1922), Phantom (1922), Schatten (1923), and The Last Laugh (1924), were highly symbolic and deliberately surrealistic portrayals of filmed stories.The first Expressionist films made up for a lack of lavish 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.The plots and stories of the Expressionist films often dealt with madness, insanity, betrayal, and other "intellectual" topics (as opposed to standard action-adventure and romantic films)
They used a new visual style which embodied high contrast and simple editing.
Strong elements of monumentalism and modernism appear throughout the canon of German expressionism. An example on this is Metropolis, as evidenced by the enormous power plant.
sets and scene artwork of expressionist films often reveal buildings of sharp angles, great heights, and crowded environments.
Two genres that were especially influenced by Expressionism were the horror film and film noir.
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 emigrees 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, influencing a further line of film makers and taking Expressionism through the years
Ambitious adaptations of the style of director Tim Burton. The angular building designs and severe-looking city squares of Gotham City evoke the loom and menace present in Lang’s Metropolis.