Favorite Films 2 - The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, 1920

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Favorite Films 2 - The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, 1920

1920. A new decade. The Titanic has sunk, the Great War has been fought, and there is a new electric buzz in the air. By this time, feature-length silent films were already popular, and were beginning to be shown in grand movie palaces – theatres built specifically for motion pictures, clad in red velvet and art deco architecture. These movie palaces intended for the average citizen to feel like royalty while being transported to the magical land of cinema.
A film was released in 1920 titled The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, or Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari, about a mysterious carnival man, a sleepwalker that can tell your future, and a string of violent murders. This film is praised for many different reasons: it is one of the first films to be told using a frame story (flashback), it is known as one of the greatest silent horror films, it introduced the twist ending in movies, and its German Expressionist style influenced many artists and filmmakers such as Tim Burton, and even My Chemical Romance (à la the “Welcome to the Black Parade” music video).
I admire all this in the film, but I like it ‘cause it’s weird. Truly. I was perusing though Netflix, looking for an interesting movie to watch, and looking though silent films came across The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. The picture alone made me want to watch it, the jagged set pieces setting immediately apart. I watched it with my dad and was entranced by the colored and wild text, haunting music, and dancing movements from the actors. The whole movie is like an unsettling dream, and appropriately so. Being an avid Tim Burton fan, I found many similarities in Caligari to his work, and was not surprised when I discovered the film served as inspiration to him. This movie is creepy, weird, spooky, unsettling, thought-provoking, and really really cool.
To those who haven’t seen it, and to those who are still skeptical and looking for a reason, you don’t have to watch it. You might find it boring. You might find it insane, or stupid, or just plain bad. And that’s okay. You can’t love everything. But, there’s the chance you might like it. There’s the chance you might find it original, and inspiring, and just plain good. And that should be reason enough.

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Thank you!
- Holly