Phi Alpha Theta presents The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

Phi Alpha Theta presents The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

Phi Alpha Theta’s Historical Film Nights presents

Part One of our double-barreled Zoomed centennial celebration of Weimar-era German expressionism and the cinema of Robert Wiene

Thursday, Nov. 19, 7 p.m.

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

In February 1920, Robert Wiene revolutionized the German film industry with the release of his Expressionist horror masterpiece, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, hailed ever since as a masterpiece of Weimar cinema.

A traveling mountebank with a creepy somnambulist show; midnight murders and a damsel in distress; a story that leads us to the madhouse: it’s a wild tale. But Caligari is famous above all else for its Expressionist style: crazy-angled streets, deep shadows, words writ like lightning in the sky.

Film historian Siegfried Kracauer writes that “Caligari exposes the soul wavering between tyranny and chaos,” the perfect film for the Weimar era, posed to face Hitler’s rise.

In this film, Lotte Eisner declared, “The German cinema has found its true nature.” Twisted plot, twisted sets, twisted characters: what’s not to like?

Join Matt Nyquist (Mass Media) and Tom Prasch (History) as they provide a Mystery Science Theater-style Zoom screening: talking over the film (it’s silent, anyway) with commentary and running jokes.