Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Worlds Apart - The Cabinet Of Dr Caligari

Cabinet Of Dr Caligari (1920)

Director - Robert Wiene

This is possibly the first silent film I've seen since an child and certainly the first I've watched in its intirity. Obviously this, for a 90 year old film is very out of date but for its time I can imagine that it could have been quite a master piece. The most striking thing about the film is querky sets. They make an almost cartoon like appearence in the film and really drive it visually.  It's great to see the way the set designers used the perspectives in the landscapes to give a real sense of depth. In all the building exteriers and interiers not a right angle can be seen. The film has been noted for this by many, the BBC's review discribes "entirely expressionistic cinema that would influence film noir, science fiction, horror, and the likes of Tim Burton". You really can see the influence this has had even today in popular cinema, giving a real hint that Tim Burton could have conjured up some of his ideas from watching this film.

All the windows are so beaufully wonky and give so much character. As with all the props that stole my attention away from the plot of the film and focused more on the small details of the set design. I recall barely seeing a single curved line in the whole of the film, angular lines drew you into the film like a well composed painting. The chairs people sat on looked so uncomfortably tall and impractical giving a real dream like feel.

When is came to the outdoor scenes, even though there was no realism what so ever thay still gave a scense of space and felt like it was outside, such a success for the set designers. It is to be said an inpressionist work of  art or "it is defined as an "art" movie" - Never a truer word has been said about the film, every scene feels like a painting coming to life.

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