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Lecture 5

Week 5 German Expressionism.docx

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FILM 1701
Michael Zryd

Week 5: German Expressionism German Expressionism German post-WWI culture -romantic obsession with mythic past -determinist culture: the fate of human beings is pre-determined -predetermined by what? -social forces (in which case, fight for social change) -metaphysical forces (harsh universe, human nature, Fate) -nihilism, obsession with tragedy and despair -German obsession with doom and "Gotterdamerung" -cultural pessimism (lost mythic past) 1. Expressionism:  express "the morbid psychological state of the protagonist in terms of visual images" (Cook)  Reaction against realism and naturalism (which emphasize objective, external reality)  parallel movements in painting, music, theatre Q: what kind of subjective world is expressed?  obsession with morbidity, death  disturbed mental states  "soul in search of itself"--psychological and metaphysical  strong link between sex/creation and death/destruction  influence of Freud’s idea of the unconscious)  "deep and fearful concern with the foundations of the self." Q: how was it achieved on screen?  stylized, artificial, unnatural diegetic world  high contrast lighting (chiaroscuro)  emphasis on mood "Stimmung,": emotion over story  studio filmmaking: CONTROL over light and setting  the creation of a world, not discovering one in reality. -Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919)(dir. Robert We
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