Three masterpieces of world cinema will be shown over the course of three days in a new film series at St. Scholastica. The series, Lost Shadows: Silent German Expressionist Cinema, will debut with the showing of "Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror," at 7 p.m. Friday, April 13, in room 249 of the Burns Wellness Commons building.
The second film, "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari," is at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 14, in room 249 of Burns Wellness Commons. The third and final film, "Metropolis," is that evening at 7 p.m., Saturday, April 14, in the same location. All three movies are free and open to the public; refreshments will be provided. Members of St. Scholastica's faculty will offer introductory remarks prior to the showings.
The creation of the German films was influenced by the Expressionist art movement of the early 20th century and the economic and cultural devastation in the aftermath of World War I. Using effects such as impossible shadows that take on a life of their own and abstract asymmetrical set designs, these experimental 'silent' films (shown with music) created eerie atmospheres and ambiguous monsters that reflected the horror of the war and hinted at the looming destruction of World War II. Further influenced by Sigmund Freud, unconscious fears and desires are strikingly unmasked and placed on full display in these lost shadows of history.
"Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror"
Before the longing gazes of beautiful sparkling teen vampires graced the screen, there was Nosferatu. Adapted from Bram Stoker's Dracula, Max Schreck (parodied by Willem Dafoe in "Shadow of the Vampire," 2000) hauntingly stars in this classic tale of Weimar xenophobia as Count Orlok, a monstrous Eastern European aristocrat who aims to unleash a plague of horror on Germany. Karen Rosenflanz, assistant professor of German/Russian, Global, Cultural, and Language Studies, will introduce the movie.
"The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"
This is the classic twisted tale of a mad doctor who displays his sleepwalking slave by day as a carnival attraction only to let him loose as a hypnotized killer by night. Featuring some of the most distinctive set designs in film history, the backgrounds are abstract, warped, and jagged, forcing a skewed perspective of a world gone mad. Steven Ostovich, professor of philosophy, will introduce the film.
Influencing films like Blade Runner (1982), the futuristic set designs of this expensive science fiction masterpiece take on a life of their own, visualizing a dystopian city on the verge of apocalypse. Workers fight with aristocrats as the city leader's son, Freder, learns of the plight of the poor workers and children through the beautiful Maria. Meanwhile, Rotwang, a mad scientist, creates a robot version of Maria to seduce and control the working class. This complex visual narrative of a rather simplistic moral lesson was infamously mangled shortly after release and the original was feared lost forever. However, in one of the great finds of film history, a near complete print was found in 2008 in an Argentine film archive. The version shown will be this nearly complete restoration of a legendary cinematic landmark. Nathan Carroll, associate professor of film studies, will introduce "Metropolis."