Der Müde Tod (aka Destiny, aka Behind the Wall) (Dir. Fritz Lange, 1921) (Screening format – DCP, 98mins) Der Müde Tod (literally The Weary Death) has often been overlooked even amongst Lang’s earlier work but it is a film rich in expressionist imagery and featuring innovative special effects work. It has been hugely influential, with directors such as Alfred Hitchcock, Ingmar Bergman and Luis Buñuel citing it as a direct influence on their own work. In the film, a young woman (Lil Dagover) confronts the personification of Death (Bernhard Goetzke), in an effort to save the life of her fiancé (Walter Janssen). Death weaves three romantic tragedies and offers to unite the girl with her lover, if she can prevent the death of the lovers in at least one of the episodes. Thus begin three exotic scenarios of ill-fated love, in which the woman must somehow reverse the course of destiny: Persia, Renaissance Venice, and a fancifully rendered ancient China. Find out more at silentfilm.org. The new restoration of Der Müde Tod by Anke Wilkening on behalf of the Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung preserves the original German intertitles and simulates the historic colour tinting and toning of its initial release. The film is accompanied by a recently-composed recorded score by Cornelius Schwehr. Picture House, Norwich Link
The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (Dir. Robert Wiene, 1920) (Screening format – not known, 77 mins) In the village of Holstenwall, fairground hypnotist Dr Caligari (Werner Krauss) puts on show a somnambulist called Cesare (Conrad Veidt) who has been asleep for twenty three years. At night, Cesare walks the streets murdering people on the doctor’s orders. A student (Friedrich Feher) suspects Caligari after a friend is found dead and it transpires that the doctor is the director of a lunatic asylum. Fueled by the pessimism and gloom of post-war Germany, the sets by Hermann Warm stand unequaled as a shining example of Expressionist design. Find out more atwikipedia.org. Presented as part of the King’s Lynn Festival. With live musical accompaniment by Minima. St. George’s Guildhall, King’s Lynn. Link
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