Tuesday, 27 October 2009

The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari 'Robert Wiene'

When I first heard this was a silent film...I must admit, I was quite taken a back, and prepared to be completly bored....thought I do like to keep an open mind...

To my surprise, it was actually ok lol, althought I did feel the film drew slightly tedious towards the end, but the musci in the background help to move some of the more tedious are'as along faster, but nevertheless there are some great notions in there that was obviously quite definative in the film industry, with thanks to the director Robert Wiene, developing tradional aesthics used in modern day styles.

For example, the begining sequence was a very dark, almost sinister opening, using elements such as a circular crop to a character to suggest a focus, which was possible to help the transition of the story, due to the lack of the words, then moving on to the townscape where the film is set, where the backdrop was clearly contructed from a sort of caardboard, or perhaps painted, but the sizes of the house and landscapes beyond where very dissproportionate, and quirky, which you could sense a very early 'Tim Burton' feel about it, also an element I noticed within the film, was that there was a high use of black and white decor, for example in the Director's Room, where there was a strong focus on the center desk, as there was a swirl pattern marked all around the room, focusing the central theme, which again, felt very 'Burton' like, simmilar to 'Beetlejuice'...

Other elements within the film I took note of where the very high contrast use of shadows, which create a great sense of depth, as well as suspense,  as well as the set within made use of very a angular design, either a choice of style, or perhaps even to convey a sense of confusion, disorientation toward to viewer, as this challanges our daily conceptions of buildings being very rectangular, and for want of a  better phrase, 'Making Sense'.

The text usage to convey the characters thought or speech was very perculiar, as it was quite stylised, and dramatic, and this struck me as perhaps a means to interpret tones of the way in which a character would say certain lines, words, suggestive to the emotion carried behind it, for example, the font, as well as the backdrop behind it had a tendancy to use sharp imaging...In a simmilar concept, Rober Wiene had a tendancy in this film to portray different time periods with the use of tones, for example, to portray night, he would use a light blue lens, possible due to technology restrictions, but nevertheless still effective and obvious to us as an audience, at the same time, to represent past, he woul duse the trademark convention of using a sepia tone, which to this day is still a widely used effect.

Perhaps even as far as art is conerned, I when I was watching this film, I felt alot of reminecsence within it, especially with the scenerary, for example the work of Will Barras's , in particual he's piece 'The Third Man' which reminded me of some of the quirky, surreal backdrops within the scenary...

Some of the main storyline on a simmilar wave-length can be seen in more recent productions, such as the character Cesare, who to me, felt extreamly reminsicent to Tim Burton's 'Edward Scissorhands', but at that time period, it was an already distinctive convention, especially within german expressionist films, to portray male lead characters with a sense of feminimity, such as the use of eyeliner and make-up, for instance Fritz Lang's 'Metropolis', he uses simmilar conventions..

1 comment:

  1. Hey Bob - am loving your analysis here! Really great stuff - keep it up - and I love the way you're relating the film to the work of other artists; this is PRECISELY what I want from degree students - 'joined-up thinking'! :-)