Books and Movies Reviews

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari: A Stylized Horror

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari: A Stylized Horror
The forms and settings in The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari play a far more complex role than simply adding tension, horror and suspense to the film's narrative.The expressionistic design of the mise-en-scene escalates the emotions and thoughts of the main characters, insisting that the viewer join the insanity and confusion, and become a part of this madman's world.
The mise-en-scene in The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari should seem over-the-top in every aspect, as the film is abstracted and stylized to become a type of fantasy world for the insane and the ruthless.The characters are molded into this bizarre atmosphere; consisting of distorted lines, jagged angles, and fragmentary shapes, reflecting Caligari's madness and the hysteria and paranoia which is throughout Holstenwall (Wells 44)."Mirrors, shadows, stark contrasts in design, costume and location, and a range of visual effects" are also used to reflect Caligari's deranged interior state, and the helplessness and terror he causes to his victims (Wells 44).
The most memorable and visually striking scene in the film that reflects the use of an expressionistic mise-en-scene is when Cesare moves Joan up a surreal and jagged parapet after he has captured her.The buildings and rooftops are piercing through the sky like knives, and the lack of detail and contrast from light to dark enables a mystic and gothic mood.Indeed, the setting is equally as horrific as Cesare's character, as it captures the helplessness of Joan, and the ruthlessness of Caligari.
The contrast in the jagged, expressionistic settings and the smooth, contoured settings are equally effective.Nearly all of the scenes in the film represent Caligari's chaotic and confused state of mind; for example, the carnival is set amidst peaking tents, strong diagonal railings, and a constantly spinning merry-go-round.Joan&


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