German Expressionism: “Nonstarter” vs.. “The Cabinet of Dry. Calamari” German expressionism is a movement that started post World War 1, and before the Second World War. It used a unique technique of shadowing and distinctive camera angles. The films during the movement told stories that mimicked the forbidding reality of the German’s life. For example, in “The Cabinet of Dry. Calamari,” the set design was painted to get the specific diagonals and claustrophobic atmosphere.
Throughout the film, the viewer almost experiences the madness that is happening on the set. The music pushes down on your brain, creating a feeling of uneasiness. The monotone music combined with the asymmetrical diagonals represent the mindset of Francis, who is in the insane asylum. The overall film presents a horror-like impression. The film “Nonstarter” also falls into the category of German Expressionism.
However, it is more sped-up and includes several montages, especially during the scene with Count Oarlock. “Nonstarter” like, “The Cabinet of Dry. Calamari” takes on similar traits of darkness and delusion. The directors partaking in such a movement often used it as a cry for help, considering the after math of WWW for Germany. “Nonstarter” uses any shadowing techniques; personally, I think they symbolize the issues the society was going through with humiliation and disease.
Count Oarlock, throughout the beginning of the film was only seen in shadows, and the first time the viewer sees Oarlock is the first time Hotter encounters him at gate of the mansion. Oarlock plays the part as the cursed vampire well; it adds the finishing detail to the film of German Expressionism. “The Cabinet of Dry. Calamari” and “Nonstarter” take on a deeper meaning than what is shown on the screen. They include a lot if inner thoughts and emotions that can allude to the general public of Germany at the time.
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