By Frances Guerin
Cinema is a medium of sunshine. and through Weimar Germany's improve to technological modernity, mild - rather the representational chances of electric mild - turned the hyperlink among the cinema reveal and the quick adjustments that have been remodeling German lifestyles. In Frances Guerin's compelling heritage of German silent cinema of the Nineteen Twenties, the cutting 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 resembling 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 vital thematic challenge. 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 acknowledged to be the doubtful starting place of Nazism. In unlocking this doubtful hyperlink, A tradition of sunshine redefines the sector of German movie scholarship.
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Extra resources for A Culture of Light: Cinema and Technology in 1920s Germany
20 The light and lighting of public spaces had been extensive in the pre–World War II years. 22 The Electriﬁcation of Life, Cinema, and Art – 5 It was no longer a question of simply illuminating public spaces. Rather, the streets, city squares, train stations, and workplaces all demanded different intensities of light and lighting. 23 Given the exponential growth of manufacture, transmission, and use of electricity and electrical appliances after the war, it is understandable that the effects of these new inventions were even more signiﬁcantly experienced in the 1920s than in the prewar years.
81 Thus, in spite of the strong creative inﬂuences of some ﬁlm personnel, it was considered impossible to label a ﬁlm as the creation of either Karl Freund (cameraman), Carl Mayer (scriptwriter), or F. W. Murnau (director). 83 All aspects of the ﬁlm aesthetic were organized by specialized artists who brought an education and sensibility to the cinema. Their experience contributed to its overall quality. These ﬁlm workers embraced the possibilities of modern technology for their aesthetic control over individual aspects of the ﬁlms, most signiﬁcantly, the available uses of light and lighting.
The existence of the Bergﬁlme and other ﬁ lm genres from the period is further evidence that those ﬁ lms engaged in the culture of light account for only one perspective— albeit shifting and fractured— of the world that surrounded them. Chapter 1 of the book sets the stage for the ﬁlm analyses that ensue xxxii – Introduction in chapters 2 through 6. In chapter 1 I offer a detailed account of the historical and artistic culture of light in which the ﬁ lms make sense. In particular, I explore the developments in industrially produced light, cinema, and the other arts within the larger landscape of Germany’s advance to technological modernity.
A Culture of Light: Cinema and Technology in 1920s Germany by Frances Guerin