[critical] THE CABINET OF DOCTOR CALIGARI

Des cinematographic works old of almost a century, of which the young generations can locate and claim the influence, are not legion. Filmmakers, critics and all the intellectuals, anxious to decipher the imaginary and the collective unconscious of the 20th century were attached to many qualifiers to the Cabinet of Dr. Caligari . Manifesto of German expressionism in horror film precursor through maze-narrative, avant-garde, the film has been loaned to many faces, to the point of appearing today as a monster (a shame for the fantastic genre, questioning the unknown and the monstrosity), intimidating probably viewers less accustomed to silent film.

I prefer the warn from the outset that this vision remastered will allow them to enjoy the spectacle free of the ravages of time, but it will not fill the gap of expression and of the invoice which is dug in 94 years. As was said, precisely, to André Bazin : “The film is like a sarcophagus, it still does not retain, it retains the passing of time.” The opportunity is here given to have a look on an era of art, and ask themselves if the German expressionist who was the emanation of the most remarkable, may still be a sensation.

Well, the answer is yes; thanks to the emblematic motifs that punctuate the film and how it can be fun to identify the influence on Orson Welles, Dario Argento or Tim Burton, the show keeps a partner link with the audience today, especially those imbued by the culture of gothic like me. If it is necessary to pass in addition to a division into six acts, which seems incongruous until the denouement, and the music Galeshka Moravioff (re-registered for the occasion) too breathless to ensure an atmosphere that strange or alarming; the genius of Robert Wiene appear quickly enough, first of all by the decorations to the prospects impossible, a collaboration with a trio of interior decorators are inspired. I could write an entire paragraph on these sets, but since you will find whole web sites on the subject, I think that it is better to be brief in order to preserve the effect.

What jumps (literally) to the eyes, first the bias on the part of the visual quick to exploit the strange charm of black-and-white and silent. The first boxes of the texts announce from the outset the willingness to immerse the audience in a world out of joint, by a few sentences, poetic, and dressed in a typography unstructured; before words that do not arise directly around the character to put his madness in evidence, an effect that is mind-blowing for the time ! Then it was the turn of blue tinted or sepia to come get rowdy with the black and the white radicals, awakening in me a question singular : Where are the concepts of day and night in these images ? These shades help to get confused ? And then of course the decorations to reinforce the confusion of the human mind, which is also that of the dream and the reality (note that the plot takes place in a setting of fair, relevant mise-en-abîme since the cinema was originally an attraction fairground). Then enjoy the more close the game, close to the pantomime, actors such as the iconic Conrad Veidt; I have come to understand that the visual shock which brought the film into legend is born from the combination between the wide shots on the sets amazing and the close-ups of a face, a hand or an object is isolated by the rest of the image, forming a black frame.

“A work of mythical where the confusion between dream and reality evolves into a questioning of reason and madness.”

Hope, therefore, that The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari live a new life in the dining room from the 3 December. A life of intense because multiple issues will be that it will awaken in our heads of movie-goers. The work is the ancestor charismatic of a long line of tales of terror ? I am tempted to believe in it, counting the reasons founding such as aggression and the removal of sleeping beauty by a creature of inhuman or dehumanised. Can we then considered this creature caught between wakefulness and sleep, between life and death, as a premise of the figure of the zombie ? And this narration evoking the strangeness of a dream, what does it mean in the end ? Is this really a dream ? That dream in this case ? The cinema is a form of dream ? The theme of sleepwalking questioning’t it the position of the viewer, this be curious if closing in the middle of the day in a darkened room to remain there motionless, in a different state of consciousness, while other beings moving around on the screen ? I think that all of those whose dreams are haunted by Eraserhead, Dark City , and some clips to new-wave, will want to dip or to immerse themselves in the dream of Robert Wiene.

INFORMATION

Achievement : Robert Wiene

Scenario : Carl Mayer, Hans Janowitz

Decorations : Hermann Warm, Walter Röhrig, Walter Reimann

Main actors : Conrad Veidt, Werner Krauss, Lil Dagover, Friedrich Feher, Hans Heinrich Von Twardowski

Country of origin : Germany

Output : 3 December 2014

Duration : 1h17 min

Distributor : Films Sans Frontières

Synopsis : In a funfair, a strange old man shows a young somnambulist, whom he coins the gifts of light. The latter predicts a young man that he will not see the end of the night. His prediction comes true…

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