Focuses on the Weimar Republic (1918-1933) and its 'collective spirit' in cinema. The purpose of film as a cultural tool is examined. Based on celebrated sociologist Siegfried Kracauer's seminal book 'From Caligari to Hitler' (1947).
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Josef von Báky
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"Metropolis" (1927), "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" (1920), "M" (1931), "Nosferatu" (1922), "People on Sunday" (1930), "Berlin, Symphony of a Metropolis" (1927) all rank among the classics and most influential films of European Cinema. FROM CALIGARI TO HITLER tells the story of early German Cinema as the story of social and cultural upheaval in the first republic, between 1918 and 1933. Siegfried Kracauer, who wrote the groundbreaking book 'From Caligari to Hitler' (1947) on this 'Weimar Cinema', is a central figure, as is Fritz Lang, the most versatile of all Weimar directors. The viewer will encounter the cast members of the young Republic's stage: Marlene Dietrich, Louise Brooks, Emil Jannings, directors such as G.W.Pabst and F.W. Murnau, writers like Billy Wilder and many more - those who helped shape the new art of cinema.Written by
[Suchsland on From Caligari to Hitler: German Cinema in the Age of the Masses (2014)] Youth, freedom, irony, curiosity: Weimar is Modernity at its best and 'the' time of German cinema: By far the prime and richest period of our filmmaking. Cinema mirrors the turbulent era of the Twenties. These movies had it all! But more or less everything of it is forgotten, reduced to two or three footnotes. I wanted to take us all on an adventurous trip to this lost time, a trip which should entertain, move, surprise and remind us all of an open wound in our past. Siegfried Kracauer, a forgotten genius of cultural critique, is the perfect guide to an era, which is fascinating in its contradictions. This fascination and, yes: my love for this time and its cinema, I hope to share. See more »
I'm glad I got to see this, having read Kracauer's book about twelve years ago. It is a bit stuffy and pedantic, but still a marvelous look at a huge period in cinema, the Weimar. We are informed of the movement in Germany that took place after the First World War. Germany, decimated by the restrictions and punishments in Versailles, began to rebuild. The problem was that they were building their future on sand. Meaningless jobs and overpayment for work that really contributed little to the restoration had to have an end. Soon inflation reared its ugly head. Of course, the Jews were going to be blamed. Hitler took care of that. Kracauer's thesis is that the budding film industry predicted the coming of the National Socialist Party. He points particularly to the close knittedness of the youth that were about to be disenfranchised. He asks where they will be in thirty years. Also, many times of the films of the time presented us with megalomaniacs or those of evil intent. Women seemed to be diminished in the films. Also, there was a sort of mob order to the characters. Positives of the documentary are that it is nicely ordered to prove the point. There are numerous clips to support the thesis. I'm greedy, however, and would like to have seen a bit more. Nevertheless, the quality of the clips is quite good. It has led me to take a further look at some of the Fritz Lang and F. W. Murnau films that are seldom seen. I'm glad the TCM has seen fit to do more than show their catalogue of films. Let's hope for even more of these kinds of things.
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