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German Expressionism’s Distorted Realities: Ian Roberts and Ken Dancyger Unlock the Dark Aesthetic • Cinema Scope: Bridging Genres, Subgenres, and Movements • Episode 102

German Expressionism’s Distorted Realities: Ian Roberts and Ken Dancyger Unlock the Dark Aesthetic

German Expressionism burst onto the scene in the aftermath of World War I, ushering in a new era of psychologically charged cinema guided by striking visual styles. On this episode of Cinema Scope, Professors Ken Dancyger and Dr. Ian Roberts  join host Andy Nelson to delve into the movement’s most influential films to better understand its roots and lasting impact. From the distorted sets of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari to the subjective camerawork of The Last Laugh, German Expressionism transformed how stories are told on screen while wrestling with postwar society’s deepest questions.

The trio examines how The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari pioneered expressionism’s signature warped worlds and psychological stakes. Meanwhile, The Street marked the start of dark “street films” depicting urban temptation and failure. Pandora’s Box shocked with its sexually liberated heroine Lulu who meets a grim fate, reflecting societal tensions. And in Fritz Lang’s masterwork M, sound arrived alongside a chilling study of a child murderer that remains deeply unsettling. Beyond these highlights, they mention a variety of other films of the Weimar era of cinema that fall under this umbrella.

Through these expressionistic works, German cinema found its voice after national defeat. While the movement briefly flourished, its shadows extended far into noir, horror and beyond. This seminal podcast episode peels back expressionism’s distorted lens to uncover a formative movement’s disturbing insights, aesthetic innovations and enduring influence on world cinema. So step into the shadowplay of Weimar Germany and see early film push psychological boundaries in inventive new directions.

Film Sundries

Cinema Scope with Andy Nelson takes you on a captivating journey through the ever-evolving landscape of film. Moreover, it offers a unique and engaging perspective on the art of cinema.
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