In a narrow definition of ther term, DIE BUECHSE DER PANDORA is not
a German expressionist film. Ony about six films actually qualify as
real expressionist films, utilizing the style of expressionist art and
theatre in their set design and acting: CALIGARI, VON MORGENS BIS
MITTERNACHT, GENUINE, ALGOL, ROSKOLNIKOV, and WAXWORKS. All of them were
made between 1919 and 1923.
Due to a misreading of Lotte Eisner's The Haunted Screen, many
Anglo-American and French critics have defined German expressionism much
more broadly, identifying virtually every German film from the 1920s as
belonging. This is simply not true. Expressionist cinema is "art
cinema". Literarlly thousands of German films were produced in the 1920s
as genre films, whether comedies, or historical epics or "Heimat films".
PANDORA'S BOX is for the most part a realistic film. Its editing
structure (invisible cuts on movement) certainly qualify it as
realistic, as well as most of the acting. There are moments in the film,
when Pabst resorts to expressionistic lighting and camera angles, and
one might possibly argue that the narrative itself is expressionistic.
But it borrows from expressionism the way later AMerican film noirs
borrowed from expressionism. A closer reading of Eisner will confirm
that she does not characterize the film as expressionist, but rather
highlights Pabst's realism.
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> From: gloria monti[SMTP:[log in to unmask]]
> Reply To: Film and TV Studies Discussion List
> Sent: Monday, June 29, 1998 9:16 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: a query
> Can an argument be made for *Pandora's Box* as a German
> Expressionism film?
> Gloria Monti
> gloria monti
> lecturer & director of undergraduate studies
> film studies program, yale university
> 53 wall st., #116, new haven, CT 06510
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> "Ou est donc la verite? De face ou de profil?"
> Jean-Luc Godard
> Online resources for film/TV studies may be found at ScreenSite
Online resources for film/TV studies may be found at ScreenSite