Monday, 9 July 2007

July 10th - Robert Wiene's "THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI"

Another Tuesday, and yet another step forwards in time and sophistication. The film we bring you is a classic in all senses of the word, bringing together sublime artistry and plain good storytelling in a seamless presentation. An excellent introduction to the German Expressionist school of filmmaking, a style which was lost to its native country, its chief exponents having fled to foreign lands before the rising Nazis. The film is fairly polished in its approach, using such things as the story-within-a-story and psychological metaphors. All commonplaces in literature, but fairly novel for motion pictures at the time. The name this school shares with the famous art movement is no accident. They are interlinked, both in philosophy and appearance. A mad tale, of a mad mystic who goes around killing people by using a man who is under his control. And just where does the madness truly lie? Watch this; if nothing else, it shows what you can do even within a limited budget.

About the director: Robert Wiene (1873-1938) started out the industry as a screenplay writer, having tried stage acting and law previously. It was with this film and CRIME AND PUNISHMENT - RASKOLNIKOW (1923) that he would make a lasting impression on German cinema, and by extension, the world. As with his colleagues, he felt compelled to abandon Germany in the 1930s. His short career abroad was cut short by his death in Paris. His legacy, though, lives on.

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