A Culture of Light: Cinema and Technology in 1920s Germany - download pdf or read online

By Frances Guerin

ISBN-10: 0816642850

ISBN-13: 9780816642854

Cinema is a medium of sunshine. and through Weimar Germany's boost to technological modernity, gentle - quite the representational probabilities of electric gentle - turned the hyperlink among the cinema reveal and the speedy adjustments that have been remodeling German lifestyles. In Frances Guerin's compelling heritage of German silent cinema of the Nineteen Twenties, the leading edge use of sunshine is the pivot round which a brand new notion of a countrywide cinema, and a countrywide tradition emerges. Guerin depicts a nocturnal Germany suffused with gentle - electrical billboards, storefronts, police searchlights - and exhibits how this component of the mise-en-scene got here to mirror either the possibilities and the anxieties surrounding modernity and democracy. Guerin's interpretations middle on use of sunshine in movies corresponding to Schatten (1923), Variete (1925), city (1926), and Der Golem (1920). In those movies we see how gentle is the substance of photo composition, the structuring machine of the narrative, and the significant thematic predicament. This historical past relieves German motion pictures of the accountability to give an explanation for the political and ideological instability of the interval, an instability stated to be the doubtful origin of Nazism. In unlocking this doubtful hyperlink, A tradition of sunshine redefines the sphere of German movie scholarship.

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Thus, in Schatten, characters are reduced to servants of light and shadow, their shadows are the organizing principles of the mise- en- scène, and they drive the film’s thematic concerns. The same could be said for the use of light and shadow in Cecil B. DeMille’s 1917 fi lm The Cheat. Therefore we can observe Schatten as a striking example of a film whose lighting patterns are visibly in conversation with aesthetic tendencies in international cinema. However, Robison skillfully experiments with the possibilities of light and lighting as a medium for the construction of a film narrative that discourses on modernity.

Contrary to what we today might expect, Weill and his fellow members of the November Group seemed more interested in seizing the forum for a public performance of their works than in questioning the gentrification of their city. Predictably, many people were not invited to join the celebrations in and of light that legitimized the modern grandeur of the 1920s German metropolis. Indeed, the significance of electrical light and lighting extended beyond the realm of the symbolic to that of a structural force in the redefinition of a modern way of life.

57 As we will see in chapter 2, both natural sunlight and artificial light were skillfully explored by filmmakers such as Franz Hofer, Oscar Messter, and Joseph Delmont for sophisticated creations of space. And in films such as Und das Licht Erlosch/And the Light Went Out (1913), the lighting is given compositional and discursive prominence in a narrative that touches on the impact of the modern world. In some of the earliest examples of the German feature narrative we find films that engage with the processes of modernity and modernization in their midst.

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A Culture of Light: Cinema and Technology in 1920s Germany by Frances Guerin


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