Expressionism & The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

How is this 1920’s made film an example of Expressionism? 

The silent horror film, ‘The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari’, directed by Robert Wiene, is indefinitely a prime example of Expressionism that has held significance since 26th February in 1920 to this very day. This film is an example of Expressionism as it demonstrates what it means to be an expressionist and helps us understand what Expressionism truly is in modern times.Screen shot 2014-02-17 at 12.54.08 PM Through the utilization of stylised sets (consisting of serrated buildings), dreamlike sequences and unrealistic body movements, this film reveals to audiences an expression of emotions as opposed to external reality (the reality built around our physical senses). The very emotions that are unveiled to us include the most obvious being horror as well as indecisiveness, awe and shock. This piece of work is relatable to the notion of Surrealism in film because of the illusory successions evidently present in the film.

It is because of the use of these unconventional techniques that this film can undoubtedly be classified as a piece of Expressionism in history.

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