German Expressionism Cinema

German Expressionism Cinema

German Expressionism is an artistic style that first appeared in poetry and theatre in 1910. It became popular in films after WWI. Initially, it has come from German romanticism but later german filmmakers have been used hyper expressive performances and visual distortions to show the countries turmoils, fears, and their collective anxiety of that era. German expressionism reflected the inner conflicts of German audiences through films. This movement does not talk about cinematic realism. It is expressionist films showcased dramatic, revolutionary interpretations of the human condition of that time.   

The German expressionism grabbed the audience’s attention and became famous after WWI. If you want to consider the real-life situation of the country after WWI then its no wonder that German cinema showed and gave all the expression of the war through its cinema that we think is enough to make people feel what has happened during that era. This cinema was a combination of emotions, feelings, and expressions.

German expressionism

German expressionism has been used in films with a high contrast of dark and light to convey darkest sets.charactrisits of German Expressionism are- High angels, Extream camera tilting, Deep shadows, Imposible sets.  


In 1916, Germen Expressionism cinema was banned by the German government because of the effect of the WWI. The increase in the demand from theatre to generate films on domestic titles leads to an increase in domestic film production from 24 films in 1914 to 130 films in 1918. That time German audience has become less interested in romance and action flicks since the beginning of WWI so for that reason themes like cruelty, violence, betrayal have been in demand from the audience’s side. The country was going to the drastic change to filmmakers were aware of the inflation also so they decided to keep attending films more freely as they knew about their money’s value was constantly diminishing. That unfortunate circumstances and hyperinflation provided a platform to daring innovative filmmakers like F.W. Murnau (Nosferatu), Fritz Lang ( Metropolis) to make german expressionism the most influential movement in cinematic history.

– Fritz Lang “I am profoundly fascinated by cruelty, fear, horror, and death. My films show my preoccupation with violence, the pathology of violence.”

Unlike other cinema movements, Expressionism has existed before the invention of cinema. This helps us to understand the principles of expressionism and how the filmmaker has been used this expressionism in their filmmaking to enhance the mood and quality of the film that helps the audience to get connected by the films. We can consider Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” that was the most famous expressionist painting of all time. By seeing that painting we can easily get noticed how the concept allows the mood to be expressed by creative distortion. It shows the impression of the painting. In film, this ideology can apply to every aspect of the creative process to dream like the scene to melodramatic on-screen performances. Though, german expressionism has a close link that ties to architecture design. A film such as The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and Metropolis is often studied as a perfect example of how set design can be used to create a world that is aesthetically controlled by the film’s emotional instructions.

Example of German Expressionism

The Cabinet of Dr.Caligari ( 1920) was the German silent Horror film directed by Robert Wiene and written by Hans Janowitz and Carl Mayer. It considered the classic example of German expressionist cinema. it tells the story of an insane hypnotist (Werner Krauss) who uses a somnambulist (Conrad Veidt) to commit murders. The film features a dark and twisted visual style, with sharp-pointed forms, oblique and curving lines, structures, and landscapes that lean and twist in unusual angles, and shadows and streaks of light painted directly onto the sets.

German Expressionism Portrays a Subjective, Emotional World Rather Than An Objective Reality. It was the movement that provided thoughts to make cinema-like had been made that era. In contemporary times German expressionism can be seen through medium used by the directors to make the film more expressionist. German expressionism experience the impact within the horror genre on what we can’t exaggerate.

The artistry of German Expressionism film

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2 thoughts on “German Expressionism Cinema

  1. May I simply say what a comfort to find someone that really knows what they are talking about on the web. You definitely realize how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More people should read this and understand this side of the story. I was surprised that you’re not more popular since you definitely possess the gift.


  2. Hi there! This post could not be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of my old room mate! He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this post to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!


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