Phantastische Literatur zwischen Traum und Trauma - E.T.A. Hoffmanns Der Sandmann (German Edition)
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Laigle er N. This book visits the 'Thing' in its various manifestations as an unnameable monster in literature and film, reinforcing the idea that the very essence of the monster is its excess and its indeterminacy. Tied primarily to the artistic modes of the gothic, science fiction, and horror, the unnameable monster retains a persistent presence in literary forms as a reminder of the sublime object that exceeds our worst fears.
Beville examines various representations of this elusive monster and argues that we must looks at the monster, rather than through it, at ourselves. Le livre en est, sujet et forme obligent, hybride. Through close readings of 15 imaginative works, the author elucidates the contents of and the interaction between the medical and the fictional. This book demonstrates that pandemic fiction has been more than a therapeutic medium for survivors.
A prodigious resource for the history of medicine, it is also a forum for ethical, social, legal, national defense and public health issues. Introduction: After the End? Are Ruses Necessary to Evade Catastrophe? Zpocalypse Adam C. This book focuses on the interplay of gender, race, and their representation in American science fiction, from the nineteenth-century through to the twenty-first, and across a number of forms including literature and film.
Haslam explores the reasons why SF provides such a rich medium for both the preservation of and challenges to dominant mythologies of gender and race. Focusing on the interplay of whiteness and its various 'others' in relation to competing gender constructs, chapters analyze works by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mary E. This is no dry history of medicine, however.
Jahrhunderts — Aneta Jachimowicz: Endzeiterwartungen. Schuster: Geschichte n und ihr Ende? By analyzing a wide range of literary texts and films including episodes from Twilight Zone, the fiction of Philip K.
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What unifies these investigations is the return of all four elements to the question of what constitutes the human. Melanie Keene introduces and analyses a range of Victorian scientific fairy-tales, from nursery classics such as The Water-Babies to the little-known Wonderland of Evolution, or the story of insect lecturer Fairy Know-a-Bit. In exploring the ways in which authors and translators - from Hans Christian Andersen and Edith Nesbit to the pseudonymous 'A. Bachman, , pages.
Vorwort 9 1. Spatial and temporal phenomena in the Kingkiller Chronicles 2. Introduction: a history of female werewolves — Hannah Priest 2. Estonian werewolf legends collected from the island of Saaremaa — Merili Metsvahi 3. Fur girls and wolf women: fur, hair and subversive female lycanthropy — Jazmina Cininas 6.
I was a teenage she-wolf: boobs, blood and sacrifice — Hannah Priest 9. The she-wolves of horror cinema — Peter Hutchings Ginger Snaps: the monstrous feminine as femme animale — Barbara Creed Rickels investigated the renowned science fiction author's collected work by way of its relationship to the concept and condition of schizophrenia. Reading Vampire Gothic Through Blood examines the promiscuous circulations of blood in science and philosophy, vampire novels, films and vampire communities to draw a vascular map of the symbolic meanings of blood and its association with questions of identity and the body.
La science rejoint maintenant la fiction. The book combines reflection on various genres such as fantasy, science fiction, horror, Gothic writing, and even drama, offering a comprehensive overview of the fantastic across generic lines. Lovecraft, George R. Martin, Clive Barker and Neil Gaiman. In addition, the volume also includes readings of contemporary fantastic literature against the backdrop of world literature classics, such as Homeric poetry, Edmund Spenser and the drama of the English Renaissance.
What is utopia if not a perfect world, impossible to achieve? Anahid Nersessian reveals a basic misunderstanding lurking behind that ideal. In Utopia, Limited she enlists William Blake, William Wordsworth, John Keats, and others to redefine utopianism as a positive investment in limitations. POTOT, et al. This critical history of Iain M. Prefazione di Alessandro Zaccuri. Drawing on previously unpublished material, Robert Douglas-Fairhurst traces the creation and influence of the Alice books against a shifting cultural landscape — the birth of photography, changing definitions of childhood and sexuality and the tensions inherent in the transition between the Victorian and modern worlds.
Le Silmarillion est la pierre angulaire de tout l'univers de Tolkien, c'est le mythe parent. MAYES dir. Chez lui, tout surprend et pourtant rien n'arrive sans raison. Peter Lang, , pages. The work of J. Tolkien has had a profound effect on contemporary fiction and filmmaking. Today the fantasy genre continues to grow—even as publishers cut back on creative fiction—moving energetically into film, gaming and online fan fiction. MYLES eds. In Companion Piece, editors L.
Myles Chicks Unravel Time and Liz Barr bring together a host of award-winning female writers, media professionals and more to examine the wide array of humans, aliens and tin dogs who have accompanied the Doctor in his adventures throughout time and space. Approaches and contexts. Pinedo -- Selected international horror cinemas.
Foreword : Ernesto Gastaldi. These films portrayed Gothic staples in a stylish and idiosyncratic way, and took a daring approach to the supernatural and to eroticism, with the presence of menacing yet seductive female witches, vampires and ghosts. Excerpts from interviews with filmmakers, scriptwriters and actors are included.
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The foreword is by film director and scriptwriter Ernesto Gastaldi. Une analyse du film de J. Whale, sorti en Maguire -- Techno-capitalism and techno-desires: the gendered affect of post-cyborgs. Who does the feeling when there's no body there? Alien commodities in Soviet science fiction cinema: Aelita, Solaris, and Kin-dza-dza! Tauris, , xxiv, pages. Finke and Martin B. Toward the end of the twentieth century, science fiction television took a dark turn. Series like The X-Files, Millennium, and Dark Skies wove menacing technologies, paranormal forces, and shadowy government agencies into complex tales of corruption and cover-ups.
Other series that played on fears of new technologies—such as virtual reality—set the stage for unfamiliar kinds of exploitation, while Dark Angel offered glimpses of a near-future wasteland devastated by a technological catastrophe. In The Paranormal and the Paranoid: Conspiratorial Science Fiction Television, Aaron John Gulyas explores the themes that permeated and defined science fiction television at the turn of the millennium. Martin and Owen R. Dementors and Goblins, Merpeople and Chinese Fireball Dragons - these are just a few of the magical creatures and frightening monsters populating JK Rowlings wizarding world.
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In his most recent book on Weimar Cinema and After, Thomas Elsaesser refers to the same confusion as highlighted by Sudendorf, but suggests a different response to it. Starting from a similar observation, i. He confronts expressionist film to Weimar cinema, associating both terms with the two great prospects of the German cinema of the s, Eisners The Haunted Screen and Kracauers From Caligari to Hitler. Elsaesser emphasizes that both terms cannot simply be deconstructed, 8 nor can the labels lay claim to any obvious historical truth. On the other hand, allowing them to become such general descriptions as to be virtually meaningless does also not offer itself as an enlightened 9 option.
For Elsaesser the two terms associated with the books of Eisner and Kracauer signify two kinds of imaginary constructs about the German cinema of the s. Dialogically positioned, they draw up two divergent imaginaries, one emphasizing the production of art, the other searching for reflections of an assumed disposition of the German 10 soul in the period under investigation. Elsaesser is not especially interested in the doubtful nature of the assumptions being made by Kracauer in this context or in Eisners overboarding enthusiasm for expressionist features in the films discussed.
For him the value of the two labels, and by extension, the two books, lies in the fact that they have created an imaginary fabric that holds the individual films in place and lends a semblance of consistency to the cinema of the period. The imaginaries created, Elsaesser maintains, now belong to the films and are part of 11 their identity for cinema history. The present volume pursues with the help of Thomas Elsaesser a different strategy.
Eisner was brave enough to risk undermining the great reputation, which her book had gained, in two subsequent articles published in and where she radically restricted the radius of expressionist cinema to only a few films and only the first few years of the Weimar Republic.
Furthermore, in her books on Fritz Lang and Murnau from and respectively, she questions a number of the stylistic attributions that she had initially made. Having become aware of the distortions which the apprentice sorcerers broom had created in the minds and hearts of film enthusiasts about the radiation of expressionist film in Weimar, Eisner tried to confine the brooms activities without losing the basic, valuable insight of her book, i.
Eisners attempts to redress the balance of her book is no doubt a result of the close contact and cooperation which she maintained with directors like Fritz Lang, the communication which she afforded with people from all walks of film production in Weimar and her great familiarity with contemporary documents and echoes. It is not accidental, therefore, that Eisner reduced, six years after the publication of The Haunted Screen, the number of genuinely expressionist films to no more than three: Dr. Caligari, From Morn to Midnight, and in particular the last 12 episode of Waxworks.
And it is not accidental either that we now read about Langs documentary instinct and his narrative exuberance in Eisners book on the director alongside the expressionist influences 13 identified in her earlier account. In the book on Murnau the term expressionism does not feature at all as a descriptive of any film or any stylistic device of the directors. One of the leading questions of this account is whether Murnau can be considered a realist the option 14 of referring to him as an expressionist no longer poses itself.
Nevertheless, the imaginary constructs which Elsaesser discusses, have not ceased to infuse current accounts of s German film. No doubt, the imaginaries have become part of the films and their reception. However, half a century after their construction as memoranda in exile it seems that it is time to honor Eisners attempts at redressing the emphasis of the story of expressionist cinema as told in and to start rewriting the historical imaginaries once created.
Fulfilling this legacy of Eisners will imply the paradoxical move to depart from her book in significant ways. The most important respect in which the present volume leaves the paths laid out for the discussion of expressionist film in Eisners book concerns the concept of a period style. The expectation that a particular period has one dominant style that affects more or less, although in different ways, all art and literature production of this period is a rather unfortunate convention of the historiography of art and literature of the past century. Eisner is aware of the fact that her focus on the development of a particular style of the period is part and parcel of her training 15 as an art historian.
No doubt, it is this training that has enabled her to provide a nuanced account of Weimar cinema in stylistic terms thus filling an important gap which Kracauers sociological study had left behind. However, the same focus has obviously tempted Eisner to impose a single dominant style on the whole of the film production of Weimar, to the detriment of other styles that have emerged and to the detriment of a differentiating analysis of individual features of filmmaking in this period.
We thus find the work of directors who have little or no connection at all to the expressionist art movement, who show none of its characteristic features and who, in some cases, have explicitly chosen alternative stylistic orientations, presented within the framework of a. The concept of a period style, still alive also in Sudendorfs and Elsaessers responses to the great confusion over the term expressionist film, provides the theoretical underpinning to Eisners enthusiasm for expressionist art.
At the beginning of the twenty-first century, however, we have more than one good reason to bid farewell to this concept. Arnold Hauser has questioned its validity from the point of view of the social production of art, drawing attention to the simultaneity of different styles in any given period: There is no unified style of a period dominating a whole epoch, he writes, since there are as many styles at anytime as there are 16 productive social groups. Jost Hermand has shown how the blossoming of the concept of Epochenstil in aesthetic theories since the beginning of the twentieth century quickly turned into forceful exercises of homogenizing anything and everything within a given time frame, rendering the terms in which styles and periods are described empty and 17 void.
Most importantly, however, it seems that at a time when, for good reasons, the confidence in the grand narratives of history shows serious signs of decline and their credibility is widely and irrevocably shattered, it would be highly inappropriate to cling to constructs of allegedly coherent frameworks for a great mass of films of different stylistic and generic origin. What is called for as an alternative approach, is the attempt to disentangle such idealist and ideological constructs. Instead of trying to place the whole of a period under one stylistic register, it would seem timely and sensible to adapt some of the strategies as suggested by Jean-Franois Lyotard in his deliberations on the breakup of grand narratives, i.
To disentangle the expressionist style of filmmaking and the period of Weimar in which it emerged, will require two simultaneous operations. Firstly, it will be necessary to establish with greater clarity the contribution which the expressionist movement has made to the formation of the art of film in early Weimar cinema. Such a reassessment will have to start with a re-evaluation of the epitome of expressionist film, The Cabinet of Dr. The fact that after half a century the script of Dr.
Caligari has been discovered and has been made available is an important factor in this context. It enables us to clarify that contrary to Eisners and other critics assumption the language of the script does not show any traces of expressionist influence. Nor does the central motif of. Just as the paramount motif of other films produced since such as Der Student von Prag The Student of Prague, , Der Golem The Golem, or Waxworks, it is indebted to the revival of gothic themes of the Romantic movement in the artistic vicinity of Prague.
There is no inherent expressionist content in the original scenario, 20 David Robinson rightly argues. Neither the language of the script, nor the motifs of the story, show any expressionist properties. It is from the decorative element, as Kurtz clarified in his book from , that the 21 expressionist form invaded the film. The consequences which this invasion had on other elements of the film, and the function which the expressionist design of the films dcor fulfilled for the presentation of its gothic-Romantic story are the paramount questions which a reassessment will have to answer.
These basic questions pose themselves differently in the case of From Morn to Midnight. Here we have a genuine expressionist Stationenstck with the characteristic motifs and structure of expressionist playwriting heightened in their effects by abstract sets and expressionist acting. Contrary to mythical rumors, camerawork and lighting do not play any significant role in either of these films. Their achievement lies somewhere else. A comment of Ren Clairs from provides perhaps the most enlightening insight in this respect, illuminating at the same time the significance which The Cabinet of Dr.
Caligari had for the development of cinema internationally. And then came The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, he wrote, and overthrew the realist dogma of filmmak22 ing which had been considered as final and conclusive before. Paradoxically, it may well be that this liberating achievement of Dr. Caligari is at the same time one of the reasons why so many critics are inclined to call expressionist so many different things that do not meet realist expectations.
Secondly, however, and this may well prove to be the more difficult and challenging part of any revision of what has been considered as expressionist cinema in the past, there is the need to develop a set of alternative descriptors for the stylistic features of those films which have been placed within the framework of expressionist film although their paramount artistic and generic orientation is of different origin.
The development of such alternative ways of describing and understanding the majority of the films of the early years of Weimar can of course not start from Eisners study, neither can it take any encouragement from Kracauers book. The categories of historical pageants, tyrant films, instinct films and street films, which Kracauer introduced, all place their emphasis on the content of the films narrative, not on stylistic devices. In addition, Kracauer approached all the films he discussed with. The analysis of style is usually subsumed to the analysis of content, supporting its results rather than questioning them.
It is thus not fortuitous that Kracauer failed to recognize the historic achievement which The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari or Walther Ruttmanns montage film Berlin. Die Sinfonie der Grostadt Berlin. The Symphony of a Great City, had for the development of film styles within the cinema of Weimar, but also on an international scale. For trying to activate the differences between expressionist and other stylistic and generic orientations in the early years of Weimar, the outstanding directors of these years, Ernst Lubitsch, Fritz Lang and F.
Murnau, provide more reliable and more helpful guidance. None of them accepted the label of expressionism, which Eisner retrospectively tried to project onto their work for the sake of constructing a coherent framework for the discussion of Weimar cinema. The directors suggest instead, in interviews and through their work, a differentiated approach to the quest of expressionist film. In an interview with the Berlin correspondent of the Moving Picture World from September , Ernst Lubitsch was asked whether he considered making an expressionist film in the near future.
Lubitsch did not show great enthusiasm for the idea. It would be nonsense if direc23 tors would suddenly start making only expressionist films, he replied. Although not ruling out the possibility right away he indicated that he would prefer a different kind of stylization, one which he had already explored in Die Puppe The Doll, In this film Lubitsch had introduced a lighthearted, ironic play with illusions, appearing himself as a puppeteer who sets up his toy shop that unexpectedly turns into the setting of the play.
As Barry Salt has pointed out, this kind of undermining the built-in illusionism of the medium does not show any connec24 tion with the visual forms of expressionist art. It prepares, however, for other playful approaches appearing in subsequent films by Lubitsch. The slight touch of exaggeration, which Bla Balzs observes in his early 25 comedies, and the disrespectful smile with which Lubitsch reduces world political events to emanations of private erotic desires in his historical costume films, are further variations of the slight displacement of the actions which Lubitsch made a characteristic of his film style.
It is this subtle undermining of the seriousness of his sujets and the medium itself which has added the proverbial touch to his films and made watching. Apart from this, Lubitsch relied, as Hans Wollenberg has observed, on ingredients which today one would associate with the dominant features of the classical Hollywood style of filmmaking: a logical story, carried by psychologically motivated 26 characters,.
None of these can in any way be related to characteristics of the expressionist movement. Not the well-built logical story, but Stationentechnik, the progression in stages with a contempt for the conventional logic of causality, was the principle of plot design in expressionist plays.
Psychological motivation was the arch enemy in this context.
Not superb, but exaggerated acting became the hallmark of expressionist performances. And instead of grand decorations, we find hand-painted sets in expressionist theater as well as in films. While it is easy to see that the classical features of filmmaking emerging in Lubitschs films paved the way for him to move to the studios of Hollywood, neither the wellbuilt story, the creation of star personalities and the grand dcor of his productions, nor his lighthearted play with the sujets and the illusionism of his medium were in any way related to expressionist trends in contemporary art, literature or theater.
Yet, a remark which Lubitsch made to Rudolf Kurtz indicating that he intended to direct his comedy Die Bergkatze The Mountain Cat, in a manner far from everyday life as a grotesque parody of militaristic habits on the Balkans was enough to secure him a place among the directors identified as using expressionist 27 elements in their films. From Rudolf Kurtzs book Expressionism and 28 Film from to Ulrich Gregors survey of Film in Berlin from , Lubitsch was able to retain this position with no justification at all.
Although developing different film styles and working in different genres, the two other great directors of early Weimar cinema, Fritz Lang and F. Murnau, did not show any greater enthusiasm for the expressionist art movement. From Eisner we know that Lang has always vigorously declared that he was not an expressionist and that he has always 29 rejected such an arbitrary label. Not expressionism, but American and French adventure and detective serials and Joe Mays attempts to surpass both of them in exoticism and suspense in his monumental serial projects had provided the schooling for Lang.
His own early work is serial cin30 ema, Feuillade cinema, as Frieda Grafe rightly points out. In contrast to Lubitsch it is not the psychologically well-built plot and not the single, self-enclosed work that characterize Langs early films, but instead a bewildering abundance of exotic and sensational adventure hurled upon one another in rapid succession. Not surprisingly, the plots of his films have their improbabilities and impossibilities, as Kurt Pinthus. However, the constant change of scenery and action, the abundance of different locale, disguises and trapdoors renders any incoherence unnoticed.
The character of the serial is inscribed in these films not only through the technique of the penny dreadful, keeping the spectators in suspense, waiting for the next installment, as a reviewer of 32 the first part of Die Spinnen The Spiders, noted, but more importantly through a plot structure that makes the rapidly progressing Kolportage of unexpected action its moving principle. The disjointed narrative, so often observed in Langs films, does not at all result from a calculated subversion of the dominant forms of bourgeois cinema, 33 as Ann Kaplan assumes, but from the particular strategies of what Vicki Callahan has recently called the aesthetic of uncertainty, an aesthetic that foregrounds an abundance of unexpected action and the spectacular display of adventure rather than providing a coherent and motivated 34 story line.
The Spiders, the first extant serial of Langs, exploits these features to the full. It has consequently not been associated with expressionism by any critic, rather with the traces of William S. Hart and Pearl White, the films aux episodes of Feuillade and the books of one of Langs favorite serial authors, Karl May. It is different, however, with Dr. Mabuse the Gambler, the film that established Langs reputation as a director. Mabuse is a serial, too.
In its confrontation of an almost auratic criminal, a man of many disguises and magic powers, with a rather helpless, ever so unsuccessful detective the film reproduces quite blatantly the immensely attractive constellation of the main protagonists of the Fantomas serial. Yet, the design of some of the sets and the direct reference to expressionism in a conversation between Count Told and Dr.
Mabuse have encouraged wide-ranging speculations about Langs indebtedness to the expressionist art movement. Lotte Eisner is cautious enough to point out that it is possible that more expressionism has been read into the film than was intended and that the only genuine expressionist feature is the restaurant with its flame walls, where Wenck and his friend have dinner, while other interior decorations rather recall the ornamental stylization of the Viennese or Munich workshops or Art Deco 35 style.
Unfortunately, such circumspect approach does not extend to her interpretation of the conversation between Count Told and Dr. Here Eisner overlooks the critical function which this conversation has in the context of the film. What is your attitude toward expressionism, Doctor? Mabuse responds: Expres-. But why ever not? Everything is just a game today! Lang could hardly have inserted his critical attitude toward expressionism more pronouncedly in his film than through this conversation. Expressionism is identified as an integral part of the pandemonium of the period, as part of the frantic excesses of the time, on a par with gambling, spiritistic sances and other forms of addiction.
Contemporary critics were quick to grasp the meaning of the conversation about expressionism and the expressionist features in some of the pictures and tapestry in the film. This film is a document of our time, an excellent portrait of high society with its gambling passion and dancing madness, its hysteria and decadence, its expressionism and occultism,. And in an excellent review in the B. Stock exchange maneuvers, occultist charlatanism, prostitution and over-eating, smuggling, hypnosis and counterfeiting, expressionism, violence and murder!
There is no purpose, no logic in this demonic behavior of a 37 dehumanized mankind everything is a game. It is only in later comments, unfortunately encouraged by the writings of Lotte Eisner, that Langs critical reference to expressionism in Dr. Mabuse is turned from an integral part of the portrayal of a restless, confused, and frantic epoch into a confirmation of a stylistic influence on the director. Once Lotte Eisner had identified if not expressionist features, then an expressionistic mood of the film and some expressionist lighting effects the label was extended by other critics to the discovery of expressionistic gestures, expressionistic flavors, even to 38 the realist expressionism of Fritz Lang.
Lotte Eisner objected to the contradiction in terms in the latter phrasing. Yet, this did not prevent further contributions to an expressionist reading of selected aspects of the film. Even Sudendorf, although drawing attention to Eisners efforts to confine the damage of the misunderstanding of her book, did not hesitate to exceed Eisner in his own assessment of the director maintain-. Mabuse the Gambler offers an 40 expressionistic treatment of a Caligariesque master criminal, a statement which tries to squeeze into a single expressionist frame the gothic-Romantic Doppelgnger Caligari and the media expert Mabuse, a descendent of Fantomas for whom the surrealists developed a great fascination.
At the same time, his book promotes an extended use of the expressionist label in the most uninhibited manner. Caught in the dilemma of his awareness of Langs critique of expressionism within the film and his own books demands of including Lang among the outstanding expressionist directors, he arrives at a surprising, but intriguing conclusion. Since the film participates in expressionism, he argues, the critique of the expressionist art movement voiced in the conversation between Count Told 41 and Dr.
Mabuse implies a critique of the filmic medium itself. There is indeed a scene in the second part of Dr. Mabuse which displays a selfreflective element. In the disguise of the hypnotist Sander Weltmann, Dr. Mabuse creates, by means of cinematographic projection, the suggestion of a caravan entering the stage of a music-hall. Not unexpectedly, neither the caravan arriving on the stage nor the process of projection bear any resemblance at all with any expressionistic design. Not the assumed participation of Dr. Mabuse in expressionism, but the films display of the audiences susceptibility to the sensational experience of hypnosis creates the self-reflective moment of this scene.
The craving for sensation turns the audience, including the unsuccessful State Attorney von Wenck, into compliant victims of Dr. Mabuses magical tricks. It is the same craving that determines Countess Told to watch the Russian Lady in the gambling room, and the same that drives Dr. Mabuse to manipulate the stock market and his gambling partners, to hypnotize his audience and to gain spiritual and physical power over Countess Told.
There is no such thing as love, he lets the Countess know, there is only desire. Cinematic projection is indeed displayed as one of the means to exercise such power. This tells something about Fritz Langs attitude toward cinema, it contributes nothing, however, to support the view of an intentional or unintentional adaptation of expressionist elements in his film. In an interview published in Film Kurier from 11 September , F. Murnau declared himself strongly in favor of two genres of con-.
With Nosferatu Nosferatu, , the first treatment of the Dracula motif in film, and Der Letzte Mann The Last Laugh, , the peak of the series of Kammerspielfilms in the early s, Murnau has himself excelled in both these genres. Because of the uncanny nature of its main protagonist, Nosferatu has often been compared with The Cabinet of Dr. However, the uncanny and its various embodiments in the form of doubles, vampires and artificial creatures are not in itself motifs of the expressionist movement.
Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and and Dracula and cannot be explained by any reference to expressionism, nor by speculations about the psychic disposition of the German people in the postwar period. If one follows contemporary testimonies, the main reasons for giving new blood to the uncanny creatures of Romantic heritage are to be found in the challenge and the nature of the filmic medium itself.
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As Paul Wegener explained in a talk from , the sujet of The Student of Prague, the first major German contribution to world cinema, had been chosen with a view to achieving effects in film which are based on the specific technology of the medium and cannot be obtained through other artistic means. The genuine author of film, Wegener 44 maintained, has to be the camera. Only through refined use of the camera, he implied, can film become an equal to other art forms.
Wegener thus carries a rather traditional aesthetic axiom, i. And he draws conclusions from this which are clear cut and entail far-reaching effects. The technology of film, he points out, does not only provide the essential legitimation for the new mediums status as an art form, but the technology must also determine the selection of 45 the content. And Wegener left his audience in no doubt about the content he had in mind. He underlines the possibilities which the photographic technique offered for the presentation of E. Hoffmanns 46 fantasies of the double and mirror images.
In The Student of Prague and the first version of The Golem, the two films which mark the beginning of serious German cinema, this program was put into practice. So, it was in the years between and , ahead of any expressionist. In terms of cinemas historiography this observation is remarkable enough.
It does not only suggest a shift in the periodization of German film history, but it also offers a variant in the description of the general progress which cinema made in its first decades. Following in the footsteps of Tom Gunning and David Bordwell, critics tend to understand the history of cinema in its first decades as a move from the cinema of attractions to the narrative models and strategies of the continuity style of classical Hollywood cinema.
Caligari, Nosferatu and Metropolis provide a different prospect. The attraction which cinema held in its first decade, the attraction of making images seen, 47 of the visibility of real living moving scenes, was replaced by the other. Cinema discovers, as a preview to Nosferatu highlights, the tremendous attraction which the presentation of the invisible, the 48 uncanny and eerie holds for the audience.
And cinema discovers the suitability and great potential of its technological armature for the display of uncanny experiences. It is the cinema as a kingdom of shadows as described by Maxim Gorki, or the realm of incorporeal and yet so clearly discernible specters as described by Robert Wiene, that caught the 49 imagination of film directors as well as audiences. However, the ways in which the directors realized this trend and the styles and techniques which they developed for the display of the uncanny, the ghostly, the unreality of their sujets differed considerably.
While Wegener used sophisticated camera techniques, mirror effects and trick photography to achieve the eerie atmosphere of The Student of Prague, Wiene employed the expressionist design of the dcor in The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari for the same end, and Murnau shooting Nosferatu largely on location turned to nature and its nuanced photographic capture as Eisner has described with great intensity: Murnau, however, making Nosferatu with a minimum of resources, saw all that nature had to offer in the way of fine images.
He films the fragile form of a white cloud scudding over the dunes, while the wind from the Baltic plays among the scarce blades of grass. His camera lingers over a filigree of branches standing out against a spring sky at twilight. He makes us feel the freshness of a meadow in which horses gallop around with marvelous lightness. Nature participates in the action: sensitive editing makes the bounding waves foretell the approach of the vampire, the imminence of the doom about to overtake the town.
Over all the landscapes dark hills, thick forests, skies of jagged storm-clouds there hovers what Balzs calls 50 the great shadow of the supernatural. It is not surprising that in the light of these observations emphasizing the role of nature in the film and the subtle photography and editing Lotte Eisner was rather reluctant to situate Nosferatu in the context of the expressionist art movement. Instead, she explicitly distances Murnau from directors such as Lang and Lubitsch who had been turned away 51 from reality by expressionist precepts.
Significantly, in her book on Murnau which includes the original script of Nosferatu, the term expressionism hardly appears throughout the book. Yet, one exclamatory remark about the most expressive expression as called for by the expres52 sionists, which Eisner made in referring to the procession of the pallbearers through the narrow streets of Lbeck, was sufficient to encourage critics to refer to Murnau as allegedly the greatest of the expressionist directors and to Nosferatu as the high point of Murnaus 53 expressionist period.
Although noticing that the outdoor, naturalistic photography calls the attribution of the expressionist label into question, and conceding 54 that Murnau himself was not much of an expressionist, John Barlow holds on to the idea that it is impossible to think of Nosferatu without taking into account the expressionistic milieu of its origin and the expres55 sionistic spirit of its conception.
The milieu of the films origin, however, was not the expressionist art movement, but the rediscovery and reactivation of Romantic fantasies and gothic nightmares in the medium of film which had started with The Student of Prague in In , Murnau had already contributed a version of the Dr. Hyde story to this development, and with Nosferatu he now took it to a level that proved inspiring for generations of filmmakers to come.
Concerning the spirit and style of the films conception, however, they may well be described as an attempt to free the gothic-Romantic themes from their embrace by expressionist art design and promote a mode of their revival that is based on the creative development of subtle nuances in naturalist photography. Such a characterization includes even those instances in which Murnau clearly transcended the normal pattern of evoking uncanny effects through the presentation of the supernatural in realist surroundings.
In the thirty-sixth and thirty-seventh scene of the film he first in-. Barlow criticizes the first maintaining that the experiment does not work, but he is enthusiastic about the insertion of negative film calling it one of the most striking images 56 of film expressionism. I prefer to see both experiments in the context of Murnaus exploration of photographic and editorial innovations. The images created, the jerky image of the coach as well as the white forest, 57 as Murnau called the negative image in his script, do not show any reduction of form, any distortion of perspective, any substantial abstraction from the objects shown, as one would expect from an expressionist design.
Instead, they mark a significant turning point in the story by creating, through the abrupt, unexpected change of the photographic style, a shock effect that will last and impinge on the reception of the action that unfolds in Count Orloks castle. The photographic and editorial experiments in Nosferatu are thus the overture to the exploration of innovative effects of the cinematographic apparatus which Murnau further developed with the unchaining of the camera in The Last Laugh.
In an article written after the completion of Nosferatu and before work started on The Last Laugh, Murnau gave a lucid description of the spirit and direction of these explorations. It is in this article that he conceives of the freely moving recording apparatus that can be directed to 58 any point in space at any time during the shooting in any speed. And he clearly notes the artistic goal which he hopes to achieve with the unchained, freely moving camera.
Calling for such an instrument, he writes, does not imply the creation of a new technically complicated apparatus, in artistic terms it means rather the opposite, i. Fred Gehler and Ullrich Kasten have rightly called the article a mani60 festo of the mobile camera. However, the artistic aims proclaimed in this manifesto are not the expressionist cry, distorted perspectives or the reductions and abstractions of images, but simplicity, finality and the creation of wholly neutralized material. Not unexpectedly, Murnau uses aesthetic categories detrimental to any programmatical manifestation of expressionism.
The realization of the proclaimed concept in The Last Laugh, imaginatively supported by the cameraman Karl Freund, has made this film one of the outstanding documents of early Weimar cin-. Haas was aware that the story of the old porter loosing his uniform and with it his social status bore all the hallmarks of a naturalist conception. But he also observed very perceptively that through the movement of the recording apparatus Murnau succeeds 62 in rendering the naturalist surface immaterial.
Neither Haas nor other contemporary critics such as Rudolf Kurtz or Bla Balzs have associated The Last Laugh in any way with expressionism in spirit or in style. Like the critic of the Film-Kurier who in had introduced Murnau to his readers as a rising star among the directors of contemporary cinema they praised the virtuosity, intensity and the painterly nuances of the pictures he created.
And for Paul Rotha, who celebrated the plastic fluidity of The Last Laugh, the eminent importance of the film lay in the fact that, as he put it, it laid down the elementary principles of filmic continu63 ity, a characteristic that places The Last Laugh within the notion of classical cinema. The shift which the publication of The Haunted Screen caused in the discussion of early Weimar cinema becomes clearly discernible in the case of this film.
Also the particular structure of argument, which Eisner employs throughout her book in all those cases where the integration of films under the umbrella of expressionist cinema causes obvious difficulties, is particularly transparent in this case. Eisner does not avoid addressing these difficulties. So she points out in a comment on Scherben, the first in the series of Kammerspielfilme which achieved its climactic manifestation in The Last Laugh, that the whole genre represents the 64 psychological film par excellence.
And in a comment which Eisner adds to this statement in the German version of her book she highlights that the expressionists again and again condemned psychology and any 65 individual, petit-bourgeois tragedy. Nothing else but individual tragedies of Kleinbrger are however presented in the story of the keeper of the railroad crossing in Scherben who becomes a murderer as well as in the story of the degraded porter in The Last Laugh.
Referring to Lupu Pick, the chief promoter of the Kammerspielfilm genre who had drafted the first treatment of The Last Laugh, Eisner points out that Pick delib66 erately went counter to all expressionist principles. Picks own characterization of another film as a naturalist slap in the face of expressionist snobs certainly supports this assessment and highlights at the same time 67 the stylistic origin of the genre.
No doubt, the story of The Last Laugh was not conceived as a manifestation of expressionist sentiments or techniques. And Eisner underlines this in her introductory remarks: The Last 68 Laugh goes against expressionist precepts, she writes. But then the tide turns and we read of remnants of an expressionist doctrine, of expressionist techniques used in the dream sequence, eventually of the oblique body-attitude of the old porter leaning against a wall in despair which Eisner likens to the oblique lines in the 69 decorations of Dr.
The vagueness of some of these observations, the pure formality of others and the rather forceful interpretation of the porters oblique body-attitude hardly add plausibility to the change of direction in the argument. Critics following Eisner in her footsteps and this is as characteristic as the structure of the argument. Although not as expressionistic as it is sometimes reputed to be, writes Barlow, keeping the source of the alleged reputation from the reader, The Last Laugh owes more to expressionism than Lotte Eisner seems 70 willing to concede.
Even such a general artistic principle as the use of contrasts now serves as evidence for the alleged expressionist style of the film. Wegeners Golem film of provides a similar case in question. Again, the literary source, the novel Der Golem by Gustav Meyrink, has no relationship whatsoever with the expressionist literary movement, neither in style nor in theme. The novel is part of the neoRomantic revival of the prewar years telling the age-old legend of Rabbi Lws attempt to avert the expulsion of the Jews from the Prague Ghetto.
What distinguishes this adaptation of the legend from the two earlier versions which Wegener had made in and , is in particular the meticulous planning and execution of the films architecture. In an article which investigates the importance of architectural design for the development of German cinema in the s, Helmut Weihsmann pursues various influences on Poelzigs design of the houses, the tower and the fountain in the ghetto and the interiors of Rabbi Lws house and alchemist workshop.
Weihsmann reminds his readers that Wegener had always rejected the assumption that his Golem could be considered an expressionist film, let alone one that were prophetic in political 71 terms. For Weihsmann the film is, like its predecessors from and , predominantly a romantic horror tale, and he supports this also by referring to Kurtzs assessment of the architectural design as having 72 everything of a gothic dream.
Gothic arches are indeed the basic form of all the architectural elements. Eisner offers a slightly different account. Although starting from the same observation concerning the attitude which Wegener had adopted in the question of the stylistic qualification of his film, she finds that the sets may encourage a description in expressionist terms: Paul Wegener always denied having had the intention of making an expressionist film with his Golem. But this has not stopped people from calling it expressionist, doubtless because of the much-discussed set73 tings by Poelzig.
Again, Eisner does not rush to conclusions. She emphasizes that the original gothic forms are still somehow latent in these houses and that the sets owe very little to abstraction. Yet, the angular, oblique outlines in the buildings structure and expressionistic shock lighting ef-. For Seth Wolitz this was not enough.
In an article written as part of the reassessment of the Expressionist Heritage in the early s, the period of an expansionist trend in the writings about expressionist films, Wolitz undertook to correct Eisners reticence to dub Wegeners Golem an expressionist film and to secure a firm and unreserved place for it 75 within the expressionist wave of films.
The aspects called upon to support the claim include the observation that the old legend had been infused with expressionist angst, isolation and desperation and that the film presents a world of cosmic catastrophe so dear to the expression76 ists. In formal respect Wolitz sees the same techniques of distortion and anti-naturalist sets and acting at work as displayed in Caligari and 77 Nosferatu. While the thematic aspects listed are certainly all too general to offer substantial support to the claim pursued, the stylistic observations do not only ignore the substantial difference in the techniques of distortion and the settings of Caligari and Nosferatu, but also fail to take account of the particular properties of the architectural design of the Golem Schtetl as opposed to the expressionist sets of Caligari and the uncanny, but naturalist surroundings of Nosferatu.
As Claudia Dillmann rightly points out, variations of gothic arches 78 are the principle method of creating the ghetto. The contours of the houses do not violate the conventions of the central perspective as they do in Caligari. Yet, as Heinrich de Fries informs in an article written and published during the shooting of the film in , Poelzig had demanded that the exterior buildings should take on an active role and appear to be communicating with each other. For that reason they lean toward each other. Poelzig had used the word mauscheln to describe 79 the impression of the activity aimed at.
The stylistic device is not at all of expressionist origin. It translates rather faithfully into the set design what the narrator in Meyrinks novel tells us about the mysterious activities of the buildings in the old city of Prague, about their silent bustle and their animated communication with each other. A film critic of the New York Times spoke very perceptively of the eloquence of the set80 tings. And the anthropomorphic design of the exteriors has its complement in the biomorphic execution of the interiors. As Dillmann points out, the spiral staircase in the alchemists workshop takes the form of a human ear, the wall of the ghetto follows the curved line of a womans back, floral ornaments characterize the world of the court.
These are certainly forms of anti-naturalist stylization; but their origin is the art. Paul Westheim, an art and architecture critic writing in the Kunstblatt of , has consequently stressed the stark contrasts between the eloquent architecture of The Golem and the flat, ab81 stract decorations of expressionist films. Activating the differences should of course not tempt the writer and reader to overlook what such films as Dr. Caligari, Nosferatu and The Golem produced within the span of two years, may have in common.
If a participation and contribution to the expressionist movement can be established only for one of these films, what else is it that makes them an expression of at least a facet of their time, or a document giving an indication of contemporary developments in the cinema of the early years of Weimar?
Again, it is a contemporary critic, one of the leading theorists of the period, who with a great sensitivity for the aesthetic challenges of the new medium of film in his time makes an important point in this context. In his book Der sichtbare Mensch oder Die Kultur des Films The Visible Man or The Culture of Film from Bla Balzs wrote: The point is this that the stylization of nature whether in impressionist or expressionist manner is the condition for a film to become a work of art.
For in film. It is always milieu and background of a scene whose mood it has to carry, underline and accompany. Just as painting becomes an art by not photographically reproducing nature, so the filmmaker has the paradoxical task to paint atmospheric pictures with the photographic apparatus. And he achieves this through the particular selection of motifs, the framing and artistic lighting ef82 fects and through setting up a stylized nature in the studio. To consider film not as an industry providing entertainment, but as an artistic activity extending the ensemble of existing art forms is the starting point of Balzs theoretical considerations.
The art of film, he says in his introductory remarks, requests representation, place and voice 83 in the imaginative academy of the arts. He thus formulates on the level of aesthetic theory what the directors of Caligari, Nosferatu and The Golem share in their practice of filmmaking: a clear orientation toward film as an art form. By laying emphasis on stylization as opposed to the mimetic, photographic principle of imitation as the basic condition for film to achieve the status of art, Balzs ensures that film does not join the other arts with an outdated aesthetic concept in its baggage, but participates instead in the formation of modern, constructive concepts of art production.
Balzs is thus much more in tune with the general orientation of contemporary art movements than Kracauer for whom the photographic technique of film production justifies a return to nineteenth-century realist aesthetics. And he is much more in tune with the work of Robert Wiene, F. Murnau and Paul Wegener than Eisner, when he emphasizes that stylization as a condition for film to participate in artistic creation took on different forms and involved different elements of film.
Differentiating as between the expressionist set design of Dr. Caligari with its distorted perspectives, the nuanced naturalist photography of Nosferatu further developed in the inventive use of the mobile camera in The Last Laugh, and the eloquent biomorphic symbolism of the architecture in The Golem which takes up typical forms of stylization of the art nouveau movement, seems little more than a further elaboration of Balzs theory, an elaboration, however, that avoids the temptation of all too forcefully constructing a single stylistic paradigm for the films of the period, while still underlining their joint artistic aspiration.
The variety of generic and stylistic orientation in early Weimar cinema is by no means exhausted with these preliminary references. Rudolf Kurtz deserves credit for drawing attention, in a separate chapter of his book from , to another important branch of filmmaking in these years. As opposed to expressionist film this development which Kurtz presents under the title of absolute film emerged simultaneously in France and Germany. The first public showing of any of their works was the premire of Walther Ruttmanns Lichtspiel Opus 1 in the Marmorhaus in Berlin on 24 April, At the same place The Cabinet of Dr.
Caligari had come out fourteen months earlier. Several of the artists contributing to the absolute film were closely related to the Dadaist art and anti-art movement. It may therefore not be inappropriate to describe these films as the last flowers of the Dadaist movement. However, in an article from , Richter himself preferred to. The exploration of the material properties of film is the particular domain of the abstract filmic experiments of the painters. Emphasizing the flatness of the screen and exposing the conditions of spatial illusionism characterizes several of their films.
To add the dimension of time to the static medium of painting, to equip pictures with the dynamism of motion organized in line with musical structures was another important focus. It is the time of the filmic symphonies, initially executed in animated fashion with abstract geometrical shapes as their basic objects, but increasingly using photographic reproductions of everyday objects as raw material of their compositions.
Cubist, futurist and Dadaist concerns thus fed into these experiments. And just as the photomontage of the Berlin Dadaists was not an accidental invention falling from heaven, but a consequential step in the development of avant-gardist painting, so filmic montage became a focus of the avant-garde films. The Symphony of a Great City, for which Edmund Meisel had composed the score, two avant-garde films emerged in the coming years that made the discovery of the effects of montage in filmic composition their core activity. The Symphony of a Great City represent the most radical experiments in filmic montage in the mids.
A new culture of filmmaking, shifting the focus of production from the theatrical mise en scne and the artistic design of sets and architecture toward the technical process and the possibilities of montage thus emerged in various European national cinemas. While the discovery of the aesthetic effects of this technique propelled the Russian film to the zenith of its international reputation, the most important German contribution to it was Ruttmanns Berlin. As Walter Schobert has pointed out, this matinee had important repercussions on the development of the German avant-garde film of the s insofar as.
Bibliografie des fantastischen Films / Bibliography of Fantastic Film
Bertolt Brecht seeing the film wrote an enthusiastic poem, while Walter Benjamin, in a response to a review in Die literarische Welt, highlighted what he saw as the epoch-making significance of Eisensteins work. That it grounds its political effects on the technical means which the latest revolution in the arts had provided, made Potemkin in Benjamins view a great film, a rare achievement and a contribution to the vital, fundamental advances 88 in contemporary art.
The Symphony of a Great City had its premire to great acclaim in the Tauentzienpalast in Berlin on 23 September, The formal brilliance which it reached in the exploration of montage effects and the fresh, uninhibited integration of a great diversity of material made Berlin an encouraging model for the city symphonies which Dziga Vertov The Man with a Movie Camera, and Jean Vigo A Propos De Nice, composed in the following years. No other than the Russian director Vsevolod Pudovkin praised the precise 89 montage rhythm which Ruttmann had achieved in Berlin.
It is not at all surprising that neither Eisner nor Kracauer were able to recognize the importance of the development of the avant-garde film and the significance of Ruttmanns Berlin for the cinema of Weimar and beyond. Eisners search for expressionist features as well as Kracauers preference for realist-illusionist photography have obviously not heightened the writers sensitivity toward both the abstract films as well as the montage experiments emerging from them. So all we find in Eisners book The Haunted Screen on these matters are the puzzling statement that apart from the abstract film the German silent cinema never had a proper avant-garde such as that found in France, accompanied later by a critique of the undesirable effects which Ruttmanns Berlin had in Eisners view on other films, i.
Kracauers comment on Ruttmann shows an even greater lack of understanding of the films historical role and its technical advances. Pursuing his basic proposition that the films of the period reflect the collective mentality of a people, Kracauer presents the technique of rhythmic montage as symptomatic of a withdrawal from basic decisions into ambiguous neutrality and the film as a whole as a product 91 of the paralysis of the German people. This is not only a far-fetched interpretation begging the question of any supporting evidence, but also.
Through exploring the technique of montage by using documentary footage the film has given the German avant-garde film of the s a new direction. At the same time it has made available a new and particularly suitable means of filmic composition to those filmmakers who aspired to a determined political impact of their work in the later years of Weimar.
The particular value of the new technique for such films derives from its genuine function which Ernst Bloch has described as the dismantling of the contexts of conventional surfaces and the improvised combination of. Kracauers expectation that montage should instead uncover significant contexts of contemporary social and political life, and his disappointment about the fact that Berlin did not fulfill this expectation, show the considerable misunderstanding of the new technique on his part and more generally his difficulties in finding an access to what he called the vogue of cross-section, 93 or montage, films.
Richter had all the advantages of a participant in these developments when he wrote his article on The Avant-Garde Film, published only a few years after Kracauers book and in the same year, , in which Eisners Haunted Screen appeared. In this article Richter did not only give an account of the formation of the absolute film in the early s and the subsequent shifts and changes of its parameters, but also of its pivotal role in paving the way for a number of montage films in the late s, including such remarkable productions as Menschen am Sonntag People on Sunday, by Robert Siodmak, Billy Wilder and Fred Zinnemann, and Kuhle Wampe by Slatan Dudov and Bertolt Brecht.
Although Richter felt ostensibly uneasy about the determined political agenda of Kuhle Wampe, he was able to see what the film had achieved in formal respect: The film was a masterpiece in the interrelation established between the composition and the cutting of the images and between the content 94 and the rhythm of the dialogues.
In Kuhle Wampe the technique of montage unfolded its full productive force Bloch. The multiplicity of montage effects employed, and the functional precision of their use, made the film an outstanding example 95 of the culture of political films in the last years of Weimar. However, as Richter points out, Kuhle Wampe marked at the same time the end of 96 avant-garde film before the seizure of power by Hitler. Eisner has made the point that film has come to expressionism only 97 late. Caligari announced its arrival in cinema.
Four years later, in , Paul Leni made Waxworks, which 98 Eisner called the swan song of expressionist films. The swan song already consisted of a combination of different styles quite in line with the cover of Kurtzs book on Expressionism and Film which Leni de99 signed. We have to familiarize ourselves with the idea that expressionism was a short-lived episode lasting just four years, an episode, however, accompanied by a number of other orientations in filmmaking.
It was an. For the future of European cinema this was of vital importance. It helped to provide the material basis for cinema as a cultural institution through artistic innovation. However, other generic and stylistic orientations did not only benefit from this development, but clearly made their own contribution to it in a number of different ways: by adding stylistic touches to genre conventions that had been passed on; by transforming generic patterns to fit the demands of a picture of the time; by turning the technical apparati of film production into versatile artistic instruments; and by exploring, in correspondence with avant-garde painters, the material conditions of filmmaking, which, not surprisingly, led to the discovery of montage as a genuine device of filmic composition, deeply grounded, as Eisenstein put it, in the characteristics of film material.
Just as there was a lively interaction between German, French, and Scandinavian film productions, there was also an interchange between the characteristic developments within early Weimar cinema. The observation of such interchanges, however, does not justify, but contradicts the construction of a single dominant period style or an ensemble of genres that all somehow rhyme on the paralysis of the German people.