expressionism paper

expressionism paper - Ashley Harper 905152398 November 1,...

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Ashley Harper 905152398 November 1, 2006 Style Paper “We are Expressionists -we want to shape the world outside us, from inside us.” The frame closed in creating an intense claustrophobic sensation. Paralyzed by fear and trapped in the dark tunnels of a castle; a young girl awaited her fate as the disfigured shadow lurked sinisterly towards her. This exploitation of the human fear of the inanimate separated German expressionists from their peers. In post-World War I Germany, film makers reemerged and competed with their Hollywood contemporaries by mixing popular romance and thriller fantasies with elements derived from expressionist motifs in fine arts and theatre (Vincendeau). As a result of the closure of German borders, German film makers had to provide quality film for the domestic market. Expressionist directors overcame financial setbacks with creative solutions to develop a fascinating poetic film language of mood, gesture, and atmosphere. This language spoke of the “constant, ever-present yearning of the fantastic, the mysterious… the strangling terror of the dark” (Ziesing). The setting, lighting, and costumes of expressionist film are hallmarks of the genre and assist the message of the movie during its journey from director to audience. The mastery of these three areas led to the creation of film not as a representation of reality, but as a physical representation of human emotion. German directors did not over-compensate for their financial setbacks or the cloudy grain seen in early black and white film; they outwardly interpreted two extreme human emotions- anger and fear. Directors gave the audience a chance to visually identify the underlying feeling of the actions taking place by taking elements of reality-
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based design and manipulating them to fit the desired mood (Huyssen). German directors’ mastery of lighting effects gave even the simplest shadow a life of its own. Murnau unveiled a world as dazzling as those portrayed in paintings to his audience through film. In Faust Murnau manipulated the stage lighting until it transformed Mesphisto into darkness itself, as “it is light that models form, sculpts it” (Hudson). Even in Murnau’s famed Nosferatu Orlock’s shadow crept up the stairs and performed the actions as if Orlock were the shadow. This unnerving aspect of the movie created a strong sense of anxiety and fear. According to movie critic Lowell Peterson, shadows created “two-shots of one character” (German Expressionism). German expressionists looked to the expressionist movement in theater for ideas to further emphasize the dark themes
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This note was uploaded on 02/10/2009 for the course ENGL 1106 taught by Professor Srjacobson during the Fall '08 term at Virginia Tech.

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expressionism paper - Ashley Harper 905152398 November 1,...

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