The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari

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The Cabinet of Dr.Caligari, directed by Robert Wiene first made its appearance in 1920. The film is considered one of the most defining German expressionist film out of the Avant-garde cinema movement. The film became a template for future films that is horror based and also influenced the film style of film noirs with its lighting. With its gothic tone that pays homage to expressionistic paintings that depicts human emotions, the film shows us a place that is distorted and twisted through the narration of the film’s deranged character. I will explore how the film show us the various stylistic elements that is associated with expressionist films and how this helped to create the distorted looking world through the vision of a madman.

After the Germans loses in World War I, the American government was in control of the art of expressionism that is occurring in Germany at the same time. Reality for them was intolerable and therefore to escape this insufferable reality, they turned to arts. This reality was the fact that after their loss, they were traumatised by it and could not fathom the fact of their economic depression, the colonising of American culture and their politics. They used this arts to express their inner feelings and that is why German expressionism is associated with the human emotions.

The film tells the story of the crazy hypnotist Dr.Caligari through the narration of Francis. Francis and his friend Alan, meets Caligari at a carnival in their town. Part
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