Expressionist cinema of the 1920s, so masterfully realized in two iconic examples, Dr. Caligari (1920) and Metropolis (1927), had a lasting impact on visual culture, giving rise to such popular genres as film noir, horror, and science fiction. Filmmakers Robert Wiene and Fritz Lang drew upon the broader Expressionist movement, which emerged in the 1910s and encompassed literature, theater, dance, and the graphic arts. The installation includes projected sequences, vintage posters, and set stills from these two iconic films, as well as selected prints from the Robert Gore Rifkind Collection demonstrating the stark black-and-white contrasts, off-kilter compositions, and exaggerated gestures that found their way from page to screen during the Weimar Republic (1919–33). The Expressionist legacy continues to inspire the imaginations of filmmakers, graphic novelists, and artists today.
Image: Set photograph from the film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, 1919. Gelatin silver print, 11 x 14 ins., The Robert Gore Rifkind Center for German Expressionist Studies.