Expressionism is defined as a form of art where an artist expressing his feelings through painting, music, or drama rather than through reality. This was a movement that was happening in Germany during the early 20th century. In 1910 the film industry in Germany had become very popular, causing Germany to have lots of great filmmakers. One of these filmmakers was Robert Wiene. An example of expressionism was by this author and was called, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. This film showed different artist using their artworks to convey a story.
One major problem with films during this time was that during WW1, films were banned causing filmmaker to have a different time creating and showing their feelings through expressionism. The first obstacle was removed when the imperial government prohibited all foreign films during World War I and encouraged the production of films that offered propaganda for the war effort as well as entertainment to divert the German people from the growing social and economic misery created by the war (commentary paragraph 35).
Once many artists and film makers began to use expressionism the film industry took over Germany. Also, upper class in Germany began to think film was for the lower classes while actual acting was meant for the upper classes. Then as the years went on the film industry became a hit to the country of Germany. They wanted the people of Germany to get out of their confront zones and express themselves through more than just drawings. The idea of Expressionism allowed people to express themselves with a clear message and get to the point through their feelings.
This made expressionism revolutionary. Through this new act brought upon by the people also brought along a political message. During this time period in Germany politics were very arranged a certain way causing less people to express themselves. Expressionism allowed people to battle the political structure at the time and show they wanted political change.
In this film, Robert Wiene does a good representation of using expressionism to show that Germany indeed did need a political change. First, the film has the audience believing the character is dreaming when he is actually emitted into an insane asylum. Wiene had the film made a weird, unique angles compared to other films that were straight on and square. This caused people to realize to go out of the norm and not be in the unstable state that Germany was in at the time. Inanimate objects in this film are very unclear in the film and confusing to understand by using exaggerated shadows and the use of unusual lighting. This film wanted people to understand the state Germany was in at the time. This is why the film used dark imaging and making the audience feel very eerie. The same way they may be feeling on a daily basis at the time. Cesare was a patient in the film and had done most of the killings. He was used to portray a message to the German soldiers showing that they had no control over their actions. They had to follow their superiors which in this case, in the film, was Caligari. Germans had no control over their government just as Cesare had no control in the film. Lastly, I believe this film gave a pollical message to the people of Germany by giving off feelings to people beyond words. It peoples feelings of overwhelming and anxiety into a picture. This film was meant for the future of Germany. If this country did not make a change to the current state it was I, it could led to many other problems including the rise of Hilter. The fear and anger in this filmed showed that the problems in Germany were far from over. Classical art films quotes, “The Cabinet of Caligari is one of the most profound and important films of the German Expressionistic movements and even after 90 years the film manages to put audiences under its eerie spell” (Classic Art Films). This shows these films can still show fear to those today making people realize how big of an impact it had on those during the time.
The film, Cabinet of Dr Caligari did give off a good political message by the unusual setting and backgrounds in the film along with its eerie feeling it led to the people. This film was shown to the people of Germany in hope to have their country change for the good and not end up in a worse place than before.