Classical German Expressionist Film Analysis

1936 Words 8 Pages
Expressionism was a modernist movement that originated in Germany during the early twentieth century. The expressionist movement was highly recognized in art, architecture, literature, and films that aimed to reflected specific concerns dominating public life in Germany. This paper discusses the qualities that define three classical German Expressionist films, including Friedrich Wilhem Murnau’s film Nosferatu- A Symphony of Terror, Fritz Lang’s film Metropolis, and Robert Wiene’s film The Cabinet of Dr. Cligari, as “Expressionist films”, how director Tim Burton’s films compare and contrast from the classical German Expressionist films, and, finally, how Tim Burton’s films are a new form of “Expressionist films”. Ian Roberts, author of German …show more content…
Burton creates setting, characters, and themes that reflect the theatrical look, unbalanced main characters, threats, and optical effects of the classical “Expressionist films”; however, I believe that Burton has evolved the classical German Expressionist film to become more personable and relatable to the audience of his films. The ability to create lovable character that all audience member can find some personal relationship too is what has allowed Burton to evolve the idea of “Expressionist films”. In the ABC News Interview Interview with the king of quirk: Tim Burton, Burton declares that he looks to create classic monsters “were the monsters are … […the…] …more emotional characters and … [even though…] …they may look a certain way, … […] … inside they have … […complex…] … emotions going on” (ABC News). Burton takes the character ideas from classic German expressionist films and gives them personalities, vulnerabilities, and strengths that force audience to fall in love with the …show more content…
Within one of Burtons more personal films, Edward Scissorhands, Burton is able to challenge the idea of contemporary suburban life. Ben Andac, author of ‘Tim Burton’, Great Directors series, Senses of Cinema, declares that the non-realist pastel suburbia found in Edward Scissorhands suggest that “the evils of suburban living … […is…] … far more terrifying than anything a mere mad scientist could cook up” (Andac pp.1). The non-realistic pastel suburbia created in the film, though appear wonderful to Edward are fare from what people would consider ‘normal’ today. Due to the fact that this type of world was created in a such an extreme manor suggests that the setting is a form of a dystopian future the audience should wish to avoid; allowing Burton to once again display the classic “Expressionist film” themes, in an updated and relevant style. Similar suggestions of this dystopian setting can be found in Burtons film Frankenweenie and short film

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