Influence Of German Expressionism | Learning From The Past

The influence of German Expressionism can be seen in the works of Alfred Hitchcock. Hitchcock having been sent to Germany to work as a art director for a film called ‘The BlackGuard’ was influenced by the style and conventions of German Expressionists Cinema. This Influence extended on to the set designs, lighting techniques and camera work of Hitchcock’s later films. For example, in the shower scene from ‘Psycho’ Norman Bates’ blurred image seen through the shower curtain is a homage to the film Nosferatu were his image is shown through his shadow.

Aside from various great filmmakers inspired by the style of Expressionism. TIm Burton is the most known to be heavily influenced by its conventions and elements in recent times. His 1992 film ‘Batman Returns’ is often cited as a modern attempt to capture the essence of German Expressionism. The angular building designs and severe-looking city squares of Gotham City evoke the loom and menace present in F`ritz Lang’s ‘Metropolis’. This influence continues in his films ‘Edward Scissorhands’ where the protagonist’s (Edward Scissorhands) Caligari’s somnambulist servant from the film ‘The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari. Expressionist ideas and conventions are always apparent in Tim Burton’s films. 

Although, the genre may have died out nearly a century ago, themes, ideas, techniques and the conventions all still live through modern cinema today.


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