The Gorgon's Gaze : German Cinema, Expressionism, and the by Paul Coates

By Paul Coates

This interdisciplinary learn of recurrent issues in German cinema because it has constructed because the early 20th century makes a speciality of pertinent motion pictures of the pre- and post-World conflict II eras. the writer explores the character of expressionism, that is often agreed to have ended with the arrival of sound, and its endurance within the types of such glossy masters of movie noir as Orson Welles and Ingmar Bergman. In contemplating the opportunity of homologies among the mandatory silence of pre-sound cinema and the frequent modernist aspiration to a cultured of silence, Coates relates theories of the chic, the uncanny, and the big to his topic. He additionally displays upon difficulties of representability and the morality of illustration of occasions that came about through the Nazi period.

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Additional info for The Gorgon's Gaze : German Cinema, Expressionism, and the Image of Horror

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The baby names of Lulu or Lola reflect the regression of their contemplators, who fear that German women will avenge their oppression - not on the real oppressors, but on the only figures weaker than themselves, the (mostly Jewish) intellectuals. * Schadenfreude is generally felt by the adherent of authority who witnesses the comeuppance of someone he perceives as disorganized or unprepared. It seems to me that scenarios drawing on Schadenfreude become more common after the midtwenties, displacing the earlier expressionist structure of feeling of identification with the victimized individual.

Von Stroheim's stiff strutting has an air of existential risk: His own "Von" was an affectation. He has a safety net nevertheless: He can tell the truth about himself on the precondition, and in the knowledge, that it will be taken for fiction. Light effects and reflections in the plate glass of the immense hotel Von Stroheim had custom built for the film embody the deceptiveness of surfaces dislocated from depths. In a chiaroscuro world the self is secreted partly in darkness. Thus there are the flashings of the count's teeth, the whites of his eyes, his enormous Silent cinema and expressionism 21 white cigarettes, or the astonishing scene - cross-hatched with light and shadow by blinds long before such images had become a film noir cliche - of the count's transactions with the counterfeiter Ventucchi.

The passing of the silents marks a movement from the Imaginary order to the Symbolic realm of language. " The transition to the linguistic sphere was as painful to the collectivity, particularly the collectivity of actors, as it often is to the individual. In The Wild Child (L'Enfant sauvage), Truffaut would identify the transition with the necessary pain of socialization; and yet one can see Truffaut's own nostalgia for the cinematic past - the decimated forest - in his use of monochrome, and a regret for silent cinema in particular in his recourse to the Griffithian iris-in and iris-out.

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