Essay, 3 pages (800 words)

German civilization 1850- now essay sample

The expressionist movement, branching out from modernism began approximately in 1910, and was a movement that in the literal sense of the word encouraged being expressive candid about pressing issues. Even though this movement began before the surges of World War I, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, represents the first few expressionist films that surfaced in Germany during that period. Like all expressionist art forms, this movie too incorporates certain undertones of crucial themes that then nation underwent, through the characters and the broad plot.
After the World War, many German soldiers refused to accept their defeat and believethey had been cheated. Most of them blamed the new government, which during 1919 was under the governance of the Weimar Republic. Germans had constantly been controlled by a highly authoritative figure, whether in be in the form of a fascist dictatorial regime or in the form of excessive leadership by the elite class over the lower class. People refused to see the bigger picture and realize that they had indeed been tormented, and the elite sect of the society didn’t agree to blend in with the masses bringing threat to the established democratic order.
The current plight of the Germans and how they had been conditioned trough the World War was highlighted in the original script of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, where somnambulist represents the common man who mindlessly obeyed authority and enlisted to fight in the War to establish the Second Reich. Moreover, Dr. Caligari symbolizes the German government as the authority figure. Through the use of these characters, the original script depicted Dr. Caligari being framed as a murderer, which was devoid in the final screenplay. The version officially written by Janowitz and Mayer, was altered by Weine to entirely shift the plot, which resulted in Dr. Caligari being portrayed as a doctor in a mental asylum, and Francis (the person who discovered the evil ways of Dr. Caligari in the original version) was confined to being a patient in the asylum . This depiction is highly ironic, especially since it is not revolutionary in nature, and highlights that authority remains victorious eventually, no matter which angle is adopted.
Dr. Caligari is the German government, hungry for authority and seeks to dominate the average person through imperialism, not giving heed to boundaries regarding humanity and respect. This is evident in the original version where Caligari murders people relentlessly, just because he is fascinated by the power her holds. He exercises control over the somnambulist, ordering him to murder people and his identity remains concealed almost entirely. Similarly, the average German soldier has no personal importance and is being ordered around by the government, because he knows no alternate reality. This resulted in the deaths of German soldiers, just like the somnambulist faced his demise. Francis, through the expressionist medium of this film is reminiscent of the aware minority that sees through the manipulations and power assertions, trying to rise above, and rid the system of authority. By reframing the movie, the purpose changes in its entirety to signify that authority is always victorious.
Moving over the film in its expressionist form, after observing the political aspects and their tampering, it is established that this film was definitely unique in nature considering the constraints during that particular period. Where media was specifically observed as means of communicating pro-war propaganda to manipulate the masses, it began to be a means of educating people regarding the evils of their socio-political structure. However, even this expressionist movement in nature, was not enough to portray a deviant mind set as was present in the original script of the movie. Expressionists stand outside the boundaries of the social classes their society is divided into and can thus provide an accurate account of reality; something normal people will overlook . Keeping this facet under consideration it can be concluded that the original script incorporated expression, along the ordinary lives of the writers, being dissociated with the mass populace in Germany. Germany was divided between industrialization and the opposing forces who wanted to rid the populace of it. Amongst these sections different expressionists were also heavily reliant on their bourgeois art patrons and financial support from their fathers . Despite this they maintained a revolutionary approach that focused on eliminated the current social scenario and replacing it with a structure more favorable in its whole.
This incorporation is heavily present in The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, but despite a representation of the current German scenario the movie fails to establish a revolutionary approach and seems to admit defeat. The defeat is shown to be the acceptance of authority conquering all, and the Germans not knowing any alternate system to relieve them of the burden.

Works Cited

Kellner, Douglas. Expressionism and Rebellion. n.d.
Kracauer, Siegfried. From Caligari to Hitler: A Psychological History of the German Film. Princeton, 1947.
Peter, Lasko. The Expressionist Roots of Modernism. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2003.

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