The Caligari Project (2016)
a city-wide, multi-disciplinary, creative partnership festival
celebrating German Expressionism in film and other arts
In celebration of the German Expressionism movement in all of its diverse artistic modes, the Filmpool is pleased to announce an exciting independent creative festival event: The Caligari Project. We will be modeling this event on the successful 2010 “Godard Project”, hosting screenings, music and dance performances, and academic discussions about German Expressionism over a two week period in October, 2016.
German Expressionism is unique among art movements as its aesthetic is well represented in multiple art forms of the same era (post World War I Germany). This movement manifested within printmaking, painting, photography, dance, theatre, music, and cinema. While many films of the 1920s carried this label, none were more pronounced and exemplary of the style than Robert Wiene’s 1920 film “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari”. The original vision for the Caligari Project was to present a film festival celebrating contemporary short films inspired by German Expressionism, made by both local and international filmmakers. As it develops, we have been looking at expanding the scope to also include other visual and performative arts as well as an academic symposium and a book.
German Expressionism is one of the most distinctive and evocative art movements of the 20th century. It is characterized by themes of horror, death, insanity, social unrest and a disdain for modern life. Stylistically, naturalism is rejected and replaced by constructed reality. Form, line, sound, and movement support and reflect the themes. The importance of symbolism is emphasized through the internal struggles becoming expressed through these stylized external qualities.
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and other German Expressionist films employ a range of graphic and performative approaches, often with boldly simplified forms, distortions of space and the body, and startling contradictions to pull the spectator into its frightening world.
Aspects of German Expressionist filmmaking
- chiaroscuro lighting (high contrast with enhanced shadows)
- style over naturalism
- themes of horror, death, insanity, social unrest and disdain for modern life
- emphasis on reflection, glass, mirrors, and self-image
- anthromorphication (attributing human characteristics into non-human objects)
- emphasis on subjectivity through vivid or distorted forms
In recognition of the continued impact of Wiene’s seminal art film, the Caligari Project has been formed. It will co-ordinate a series of art events and hopes to attract local filmmakers to create new works for the occasion. Please watch the Dailies for ongoing details. Deadline for submissions TBA.