(fig1) Movie still
"The cabinet of Dr. Caligari" (1920) is a true eye-opener and a reminder that black and white movies do not necessarily result in a dull experience. From the set design to the acting, the movie gives the viewer a truly unique view-point. Most exciting of which was the chance to have a glimpse into the mind of the director Robert Wiene.
The film captures the attention from on of the first line "Everywhere there are spirits... They are all around us... They have driven me from hearth and home, from my wife and children." (Aellea.com, 2014). While the story unfolds one can only be left fascinated with the variety of different sets and their somewhat jagged design. The doors and windows look unreal and as if they would not serve their purpose, but seeing how actors interact with them in such a natural way can really make you forget about their lack of realism.
(fig2) Movie Still
Interestingly even simple mechanics like changing the lens of the camera to blue can convey that the scene is portraying darkness and again it is a reminder that sometimes simplicity is enough for the viewer to understand the story.
The text frames with their jagged font and backgrounds add a lot to the whole experience. The narrative is very clear and everything in the film is working toward enriching it. Font, music, and visionary style all add up to create an outstanding atmosphere. Roger Ebert states, that director, Robert Wiene, is making a film of delusions and deceptive appearances, about madmen and murder. (Ebert, 2009) Which can explain a lot about the set design.
Visually exciting and with a clear message the film is one of those rare gems that leaves the viewer wanting for more and is created with so much visionary talent as if challenging the imagination. The film also serves as a reminder that we do not need speech to understand or convey a message. Vision transcends words and language.
(fig3) Movie Poster
Figure 1: http://silentlondon.co.uk/2012/06/24/the-cabinet-of-dr-caligari-with-martyn-jacques-at-the-soho-theatre-july-august-2012/ (accessed on 23 Sep. 2014)
Figure 2: http://kelleycartledgephotography.com/2012/02/05/inspiration-the-cabinet-of-dr-caligari/(accessed on 23 Sep. 2014)
Figure 3: http://www.cinematismo.com/expresionismo-aleman/el-gabinete-del-doctor-caligari/ (accessed on 23 Sep. 2014)
Aellea.com, (2014), [online] Available at: http://www.aellea.com/script/qC [Accessed 23 Sep. 2014].
Ebert, R. (2009). The Cabinet of Dr. Calligari Movie Review (1920) | Roger Ebert. [online] Rogerebert.com. Available at: http://www.rogerebert.com/revimovie-the-cabinet-of-dr-caligari-1920 [accessed 23 Sep. 2014]