By Paul J. Bradley
Often ranked as one of the great American movies, Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans has been praised for its visual expressive style. Released in 1927, Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans was not only heavily influenced by the German Expressionist films of the period, but it marked the American debuts of two important members of the movement: German director Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau and Austrian screenwriter Carl Mayer.
Expressionist Cinema is a genre that was part of a larger movement which included architecture, paintings, dance, sculpture and cinema. Expressionism used exaggerated depictions of reality for emotional effect. Heavily influenced by the paintings of El Greco, Van Gogh and Munch, Expressionist cinema was concerned with the relationship between art and society, using sets with jagged edges, harsh lighting and clashing colours, within plots occupied with identity and insanity.

Metropolis poster

The Rise of Expressionist Cinema
Expressionist cinema was confined to Germany because it was isolated during the First World War. The German film industry was protected then by the ban on foreign films which meant that domestic cinema thrived, from producing only 24 films in 1914 to producing 130 films in 1918…

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The Sunrise and Sunset of German Expressionist Cinema




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