Thursday, 1 October 2015

Space Oddities - The Cabinet of Dr Caligari

The Horrific events of the first world war caused grusome injuries and deep deppresion over Germany. Suffering a hummilinating defeat and now stark and gloomy living conditions, for many Germans they where looking for a sense of escape from the anxieties of their new lives. From the ashes of war appeared two ex-soilders, scarred by the German goverment and that acts they where forced to commit. Carl Mayer and Hanz Janowitz decided to write a expressionist screen play on how the masses can get hypnotized by the goverment and commit awful acts for them. “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” was born.

The first psychlogical horror genre film of its time, Caliagri used artificial set designs that looked twisted and eerie combined with stark lighting and harsh shadows producing an unearthly, nightmarish location. These expressionist set designs where forward thinking at the time and has been “Branded as the first “art Film” the first movie to bring the ideas of Picasso ,Braque and Duchamp to the screen” - “ the first significant attempt at the expressionism of a creative mind in the medium of cinematography”

Creepy characters enhanced by outrageous make-up and jerky manourisms, dwarfed by the twisted, dark set designs with their quirky veiwpoints and perspectives, bring together a sense of paranoia of this nightmarish world. Everything about the film throws you off balance not knowing if you are in a interior or exterior world of who done it and is this real.
These techniques have been adapted and recreated in recent hollywood films, such as Tim Burton’s, “Edward Scissorhands” and “BeetleJuice”, which use all the formula’s and essence of Calgari, making it such a iconic film.

Figures 1, 2, 3

The plot twist of Calagari, also sets a dramatic keystone in modern films, namely Martin Scorsese’s “Shutter Island” and M. Night Shyamalan’s “Sixth Sense” where the viewer is kept in suspense on the story, they believe to be true,  only to be turned inside out at the finale of the film, leaving the veiwer in shock and deep emotions of what just happened.

Though the characters in Caligari where Lunatics, murderers and Somnambulist, Mayer and Janowitz place very subtle political statement in the eerie depths of this film. The Somnambulist Cesare, was the exarmple of the innocent public, transformed into the automatic equipment and the mindless soilder of war, commiting violent crimes to the human race just because they where told to by the goverment and not realising the morbid acts they where commiting. This attack continued throughout the story, as the Hero of the film eventually turns out to be the lunatic, further pressing the point that the person percieved to be the actor of evil “Caliagri’  and the soilders of the war, was actually a kind meaning inoccent doctor.

The Cabinet of Dr. Calagari has earned its place on the shelf for the first iconic Macabre horror movie - a film truely for nightmares.

Briggs, Joe Bob (2003) Profoundly Disturbing Shocking Movies THat Changed History. Plexus Publishing Ltd 2003

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  1. Hey Mark :)

    I know this was a big thing for you... and that you've been dreading this bit of the course, and perhaps too that you see it as exposing an element of your creative life with which you're not quite so confident... but there's lots to applaud here, not least the very interesting way in which you used the biography of the screenwriters (as war survivors) as a tacit way of explaining their vision. Okay - you've got a few typos in the mix - for example *hummilinating* instead of humiliating and *grusome* instead of gruesome - but nothing that a spellcheck wouldn't pick up!

    You will need to look again at the brief re. using 3 quotes from published sources as part of your structuring of your reviews, and there's some other housekeeping issues in there - for example, simple stuff, like always giving the release date of a film when you include it for the first time, as in Edward Scissorhands (1990). You do have a quote in there - but a) it's not in italics and b) you don't tell us who said it, or where it's from or when - and all of that's important in terms of academic writing.

    But the good news is this - there's lots of good news! This is intelligent, succinct - and the observations re. the sleepwalker and a nation sleepwalking into terrible conflict is EXACTLY the kind of content your tutors will be looking for in your contextual studies and beyond, so well done - and take heart! You'll be a creative, polished writer and researcher and thinker, as well as a talented cg artist, just you wait and see!

  2. Hi Mark!

    Yes, I wholeheartedly echo everything Phil has said...a well written and contextualised review - well done! :)

    My comment would also concern basic housekeeping... please make your font a bit bigger! My poor old eyes were really struggling there :)

    Looking forward to your next review.

  3. :) will try and get my spelling up to scratch and make sure I use the Refs correctly for you all