German Expressionism and Nosferatu

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The film “Nosferatu” is a horror story about a vampire and its relationship with a young couple. The film is a product of German expressionism and uses misshapen views of reality, symbolism, eroticism and shadows to enhance the dark mood of the film. German expressionists, through certain patterns and styles, sought to show that reality could be seen through emotion. Their intent was to arouse feelings in their audience, for example through the use of vibrant colors and shapes or distortion. Many German expressionists were interested in the strange states that the mind can enter, which is seen when Ellen sleepwalks in “Nosferatu.”

The scene in which Ellen is sleepwalking at first suggests that she is dreaming of her husband, Hutter, however as the scene progresses we begin to see her connection to Nosferatu. The angle of framing for this scene is straight. We can see a chair and a bed in the foreground, while the main focus, Ellen, is for the most part in the distance but in the middle of the frame. Some strong light is coming from the porch where Ellen is standing, while the room that the camera is in is dark. There is high key lighting in the room to show the fact that its nighttime, but outside where the porch door is open, there is low key lighting. It is obvious because of the many shadows from the windows that cast onto the curtains. It also seems like the light is coming from the right side of the scene because when Ellen walks over to the porch her shadow is cast onto the curtains on the left side before she passes through the porch doors.

The scene begins with a medium close up shot of Ellen in her bed shown from the waist up. Then it switches to a long shot where we see Ellen rise from her bed and walk onto the porch. Throughout this part of the scene, the view is from inside the room, and the porch, where the action is taking place, is in the background. The mise-en-scene in this scene illustrates the time period and class that the characters live...
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