German Expressionism was one of the major movements of the Silent Era. Films of the movement were iconic and artistic. The film sets and the use of shadows was a major characteristic of the films.
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Metropolis director by Fritz Lang
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Nosferatu director F.W Murnau
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German Expressionism: Influenced by the art movements of expressionism and constructivism, German filmmakers working for the Berlin-based mega-studio Ufa created a series of important films from 1919–1933, until Hitler came to power. These films sought to express the individual and collective subjectivities, desires, and fantasies of their characters through chiaroscuro lighting; irregular, perspectival set design and camera angles; bold costumes and make-up; and melodramatic gestures and movement. Films of the period featured characters with regressive personalities, motivated to rebel against authority and tradition yet alienated by the chaotic social world of sensual excess and deception that surrounds them. The films’ mise-en-scène, though psychologically expressive, often threatens to reduce the characters into props, their actions into impersonal patterns, and their concerns into romantic abstractions.