After the chaos of World War I, it was hoped that Germany would listen to parliamentary democracy’s voice of reason, but the ghosts of the war did not vanish. In this key film, DAS CABINET DES DR. CALIGARI (D, 1920, directed by Robert Wiene), the horrors of war find a surprising, intuitive expression. It is a story of murder and hypnosis – a tale of society that seems to consist of madmen. The film is a riddle on a number of levels, confusing in both topic and style. In the words of one of the film’s architects, “As an art form, a film must become a living print.” The décor and shadows thus underscore the eeriness and unreality of the plot.

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