CIN 2101 Lecture Notes - German Expressionism, Mise-En-Scène, Georges Méliès
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Cin2190 – History and Aesthetics of Cinema – Lecture 3
•One of the first horror films
•German expressionism was meant to be shocking and creepy.
•German expressionism was meant to react against 19thcentury realism
•They wanted to show how our perception of reality was biased due to our emotions.
•Contrasts with the classic Hollywood text. It didn’t want to be a classical film.
Through its mise en scene
•German expressionism started around 1908 and aimed at challenging 19th century
•Used distortions (of perceptions) to express extreme emotions (i.e. the tents at the
fair were crooked)
•Formal realism include all details. Very detailed reality. This is what German
expressionism didn’t want to do.
•Rejection of nuances and subtle colors that usually give volume and depth to realist
•Instead vivid, little realist color (Green faces, intense expression)
•1910 = well known, if not fashionable movement in Germany
•Prior to expressionism, German cinema = comedies, melodramas, detective films.
•After WWI, Germany was not the winner of the war and the country went through a
huge identity crisis and they tried to rebuild their national identity through culture
•Creation of UFA to compete with French, American, and Scandinavian film
•German expressionism was a means to create an original film style. The genre was
much more pessimistic after the war
•Rejection of film realism without resorting to fantastic stories a la Georges Melies
•Non Respect of basic perspective rules
•The student of Prague was the first expressionist film
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