The period between 1913 – 1918 was one of existential tumult for Germany. Once thought to be Great Britain’s chief rival for continental supremacy, the impending World War 1 would shatter that illusion. Following harsh penalties imposed in its people following the war, German culture sought answers as to what had gone wrong from any possible opportunity.
This curiosity brought on the rise of the German Expressionist filmmakers, with films such as The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, M, and Last Laugh as some of its prominent examples. It’s dramatic lighting, stark angles, bleak worldview, and socio-political overtones heavily influenced American Film Noir of the 1940s and 50s, when filmmakers like Fritz Lang and FW Murnau fled the Nazi occupation for the United States.
By 1933, German Expressionism was replaced (by the Nazi’s) with “feel good” fare, much of which was Nazi propaganda.
We came across 10 of the finest examples of this personal favourite genre, of which you can also check out via Open Culture.
The Student of Prague
The Cabinet of Dr Caligari
The Golem: How He Came Into The World
The Last Laugh
Source: Open Culture