Visual Narrative Analysis Essay

Topics: German Expressionism, Expressionism, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari Pages: 7 (1559 words) Published: April 14, 2013
German Expressionism emerged in the 1910s and had a outstanding impact on painting, film, theatre and sculpture as well. It was a revolt against the established Impressionist style, which centered on the artist’s interpretation of the subject. Instead, Expressionism was based in the artist’s own state of mind or vision. German Expressionism was more involved with the relationships between art and society, politics and popular culture, German Expressionism developed during a time of huge social, economic and political upheaval following Germany’s defeat in World War I. The predominance of German Expressionism in Cinema needed different situations in Germany to gain power during those days. The domestic situations and the requirement to activate their industry allowed for the formation of many kind of films in the decade that enhanced the mise-én-scene which became the general interest for directors in this movement. In the Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Germany, 1920, Weine), the film that started the movement, and furthermore Metropolis (Germany, 1927, Weine) that provide an example of how mise-én-scene can be exploited in such manner that it becomes part of the plot and interact with the characters, even becoming another character. It is in these films that mise-én-scene transmits emotions and sentiments to the spectator by avoiding the reality of the world and creating an inner world of the German situation in celluloid. After the confrontation of European nations in World War I, Germany fell in a moral and economic depression which was the reason that the newly born Weimar Republic struggled to aid the nation and their internal industry. One policy that the government adopted to help the film industry to grow and gain prestige among Germans and countries abroad was the establishment of the Universum Film Aktiengesellchaft (UFA), which agglomerated the production and distribution in order to succeed in the film industry. It is interesting to note that the internal problems in Germany at the time created the conditions for the birth of the German Expressionist film movement. Toward the end of World War One, the German government and military set up the UFA (Universumfilm Aktiengesellschaft) to support the local film industry (and propaganda creation). The borders had been closed to import, so all entertainment had to be internally produced. Many film production houses opened, and the industry boomed with a new strength - but this alone did not generate the Expressionist movement. The people of Germany were hurting. The economy was in depression and the war had been lost. There was little to make the people happy about the world around them. Things were not good. It was this social state in conjunction with the booming film production environment that gave rise to a film genre that reflected the mood of the people - through design as well as subject matter. German Expressionism was born. The German expressionist cinema from 1919 to 1933 released some very successful films that were able to compete with the American cinema. In 1919 after World War One "Germany entered a period of unrest and confusion, a period of hysteric despair and unbridled vice full of the excesses of an inflation-ridden country" as director Fritz Lang captured the psychological mood. "The terror of social pressure could be found again in the soul of one's own as the suffering from an irrational evil." German movies began to thrive on "the constant, ever-present yearning for the fantastic, the mysterious, the macabre, for the strangling terror of the dark." The German film industry boomed until 1924 when the Dawes plan brought stabilisation to the German industry "and the German soul". Though the expressionist movement died out in 1924 there had been a big influence on later films such as Metropolis (1926), M (1931) and...
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