By Anton Kaes
Shell surprise Cinema explores how the classical German cinema of the Weimar Republic was once haunted by way of the horrors of global struggle I and the the devastating results of the nation's defeat. during this intriguing new ebook, Anton Kaes argues that masterworks akin to The cupboard of Dr. Caligari, Nosferatu, The Nibelungen, and Metropolis, even if they don't depict conflict scenes or infantrymen in strive against, engaged the struggle and registered its tragic aftermath. those movies display a wounded state in post-traumatic surprise, reeling from a devastating defeat that it by no means formally said, not to mention accepted.
Kaes makes use of the time period "shell shock"--coined in the course of international battle I to explain infantrymen struggling with fearful breakdowns--as a metaphor for the mental wounds that came across expression in Weimar cinema. administrators like Robert Wiene, F. W. Murnau, and Fritz Lang portrayed paranoia, panic, and worry of invasion in motion pictures peopled with serial killers, mad scientists, and stricken younger males. Combining unique shut textual research with vast archival learn, Kaes indicates how this post-traumatic cinema of shell surprise reworked severe mental states into visible expression; the way it driven the bounds of cinematic illustration with its fragmented tale strains, distorted views, and stark lights; and the way it helped create a modernist movie language that expected movie noir and continues to be highly influential today.
A compelling contribution to the cultural background of trauma, Shell surprise Cinema exposes how German movie gave expression to the loss and acute grief that lay at the back of Weimar's smooth façade.
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Additional resources for Shell shock cinema : Weimar culture and the wounds of war
Sixty thousand died in that war, and large parts of Macedonia were destroyed. ”27 Like his colleagues later in the First World War, he complained that it was nearly impossible to represent the fighting itself because nobody knew when or where a shell might hit. ” According to an advertisement in Der Kinematograph on December 17, 1913, the Kaiser praised these “exceptional moving pictures,” which showed for the first time the reality of modern warfare, including “scenes such as the bloody battles between Greeks and Bulgarians; the wasted countryside of Macedonia; starving Greek and Turkish refugees; captured Bulgarians; attacks with bayonets, the impact of shells and shrapnel.
In my own nerves I recognize the nerves of the world. The nerves of the world are sick,” we read in an intertitle that demonstrates the film’s project as a commentary on the collective disposition in 1918–19. The film’s title, Nerves, also alludes to the Kaiser’s contention in 1910 that victory in the “coming war” would be decided by which nation had the strongest nerves. Ascribed later to Paul von Hindenburg, this mantra was well known on the home front, and the film appears to comment on Germany’s obvious failure of nerves.
16 The ad claimed that this war program had met with broad approval among those who had seen it. Short documentary “war films,” which included prewar shots of German soldiers and footage taken far behind the lines in the first weeks of the war, were often added to regular movie fare. To keep the movie audience up to date, theater owners resorted to projecting slides with the latest news bulletins from the war. 17 According to a report in Der Kinematograph, movie houses became spontaneous assembly halls in which a community experienced itself, collectively rejoicing at the latest good news from the front (bad news was censored).
Shell shock cinema : Weimar culture and the wounds of war by Anton Kaes