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German expressionism means a number of associated modernist movements that originated from Germany at the beginning of 20th century before the First World War. During this time, it hit the highest point in Berlin, German. expressionism expresses the meaning or emotional experience, rather than physical reality. Expressionism as a style extends to a wide range of art, which includes painting, literature, theatre, dance, film, architecture and music (Erickson 137).
In the late 1900s, German silent films became advanced compared to Hollywood films. However, the migration of some directors from Germany to Hollywood gave Hollywood an opportunity to move forward, since they started to adopt the expressionism, which originated form Germany. The style and technique was used by impressed filmmakers from different countries, and it influenced the work and effort used in the production of international films. The international cinema, thus, embraced the style from the 1930s onwards. Common styles taken from German expressionism are notable even today. Science fiction film use German Expressionism, since they do not need to give references of real places. A common example is the recent film titled “Batman Return.” This modern film attempts to capture the German Expressionism style (Long 12).
Expressionist paintings film often avoided the use of stubble shading and color. It used large cartoons, like shapes of bright colors. The film used a new visual style that had high contrast and basic editing.
History of German Expressionism
The German expressionism movement expanded after the World War I. This was because the German government had banned the importation of the foreign films into the country. The film production in Germany rose from 25 films in 1914 to 130 films in 1918. Apart from the rise in the popularity of Germany’s film, the audience had started to appreciate the content of the films. The European culture embraced expressionism, and they were willing to improve future film making through experimenting with different ideas and artistic styles. The stories of the Expressionist film mainly entailed madness, insanity, betray and some majorly dealt with intellectual topics. They did not include standard action, adventure or romantic films. Films such as “Metropolis” directed by Friz Lang are categories as part of the brief history of German Expressionism. In this film, Lang shows an inner emotional reality by using distortions in expression rather than what is realistic. Non-realism of expressionism faded away after a few years, and the theme of expressionism got incorporated into films made between 1920 and 1930. However, the German directors immigrated to Hollywood after they felt that American movie studios paid hugely and embraced their work more compared to their home countries. The main genres driven by Expressionism included the horror film and film noir. Filmmakers such as Karl Freund used the style to come up with universal monster movies in the late 1930, providing a room for development of other horror films. Billy Wilder, Otto Preminger, Alfred Hichcock, Orson Welles, Carol Reed and Micheal Curtiz, are some of the filmmakers that introduced German Expressionism in Germany (Erickson 37).
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The German expressionism movement ended after the stabilization of currency. This helped by making it cheap for people to buy movies from abroad. This resulted in the financial collapse of UFA, which drove German studios into seeking American studios for help. This influenced the style of film noirs and horror. Moreover, it led to the migration of filmmakers to US, since the country offered better opportunities for filmmakers.
Objective of the Study
This paper will focus on studying the critics the film faces. It also identifies the reasons why the Germany government banned Fritz Lang's film in the 20th century. Therefore, the thesis of the paper is to test whether it was fair enough for the German government to ban the classic film, “The Testaments of Dr. Mabuse,” directed by Fritz Lang (Long 52).