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German Expressionism can be traced back to the earliest days of cinema, but it even predates on-screen entertainment. Initially, the movement appeared in poetry and theatre at the beginning of the 20th century, before moving into cinematic terrains as the medium started to take off.
The first notable German Expressionist film is The Student of Prague (1913), but it wasn’t until after WW1 when films of this nature truly flourished, with 1922’s Dracula tale Nosferatu arguably becoming the most popular and iconic. Unfortunately, this golden age was short-lived due to the rise of fascism in Germany in the 1930’s, as the Nazi’s ensured that the nation’s cinema was littered with propaganda films.
Despite being short-lived originally, German Expressionism’s influence lives on today and can be found all over contemporary cinema frequently. That said, Film Histories’ wonderful essay has provides a useful oversight of how it came to be and fell back in its original incarnation.
Check it out below and be sure to subscribe to his channel for more great videos pertaining to cinema’s rich history.