Georg Wilhelm Pabst Film Analysis

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Georg Wilhelm Pabst (born August 27, 1885, Raudnice, Bohemia, Austria-Hungary [now Roudnice, Czech Republic]—died May 29, 1967, Vienna, Austria), German film director whose films were among the most artistically successful of the 1920s. Pabst’s films are marked by social and political concerns, deep psychological insight, memorable female protagonists, and human conflicts with culture and society. He is also noted for his mastery of film editing.
Pabst was educated in Vienna and at age 20 began a career as a stage actor in Zürich. He performed in Berlin, New York City, and Salzburg, Austria, before turning to the cinema. Pabst’s first film was Der Schatz (1923; The Treasure), about the passions aroused during a search for hidden treasure. His
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Er reckts, sie links, 1915) and The Queen’s Secretary (orig. Der Sekretär der Königin, 1916) until he reached his watershed moment with a film that would define what German Expressionism is and set a pattern for posterity.
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (orig. Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari, 1920) was the name of the film. The sharpness of its set, and the seriousness of its story, regardless of the highly imaginative premise of its plot, together with a strong reference to Expressionist painting, sprang a unique graphic narrative never seen before back then.
A story of a somnambulist whose sleep is controlled by an insane mystic in order to commit murders in a small German town rose to iconic status in the history of cinema. To this day, Wiene’s artistic innovation with Caligari and other films such as the Crime and Punishment adaptation Raskolnikow (1923) and the creative horror The Hands of Orlac (orig. Orlacs Hände, 1924) contributed to his name’s reverberation through the decades of cinema
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Caligari (The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari) (1920)It wasn’t until the 1920s, though, that German horror — and German Expressionism — hit its creative stride. Robert Wiene’s The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) was a landmark film that has become the epitome of the Expressionist movement, with its dreamlike sequences and distorted set design with painted buildings and landscapes (including painted-on light and shadow) that resemble abstract art. Wiene’s lesser-known Genuine (1920) had sets designed by Expressionist painter César Klein, using the same artistic methods as Caligari, while Wiene’s The Hands of Orlac (1924) used highly stylized direction and dreamy sequences to tell the story of a pianist who’s driven insane when he receives hand transplants from an executed

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