Film as a New Leisure Activity

Based on the way The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari was set up, European cinema was establishing itself as the new form of art. Comparing it to Battleship Potemkin which came a few years after Dr. Caligari, there is a noticeable difference in the quality (and probably the budgets) when put side by side. Potemkin shows high quality film and excellent lighting; however it was backed by the state and most likely had a much higher budget than Dr. Caligari because of its designation as state propaganda.

Dr. Caligari however, was building itself like a novel, photograph or any other work of art, using technique and style to create a masterpiece. Because the film is suppose to be the founding of expressionism-which is clearly shown based on the amount of closeups used to convey emotion-it delivers emotion rather than story. Using the various lighting techniques, this movie paves the way for future work such as Triumph of Will and other important films in European Cinema.

As a whole, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari serves not only as a benchmark in film history, it serves as a guiding light for understanding European culture in the 20’s. The idea that man’s reality is controlled by a “state”- in this case the actual psychiatrist- really seemed to click with Germans and Europeans as a whole, leading to this film’s success and laying the groundwork for film makers like Eisenstein.  

One thought on “Film as a New Leisure Activity

  1. I really like the comparison to the previous films. You see historically how films compare, and how the concept of the cinema changes over the interwar years. Not an easy task to always spot and articulate as well as you did. You also drive a hard conclusion of the film, perhaps too boldly building its elevated place in film history. I would like to see at least some summarization of the film which this has almost none giving little background context.

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