Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Space Oddities/Das Cabinet des Dr.Calighari/Film review

The Cabinet of Dr. Calighari is silent movie by German director Robert Wiene and it was written by Carl Mayer and Hans Janowite.

The movie was made in 1920 and it becomes most famous expressionist film which later influence science fiction, horror, film noir and Tim Burton and Terry Gillian work. This film is made in such a specific way that word Caligarismus created a new category of films.

The whole story is told in flashbacks by one of the main characters Francis. He is telling the story to the stranger sitting on the bench in the garden at asylum house. The story is about somnambulist that can predict future but he is controled by Dr. Calighari who is hypnotizing and forcing him to committing murders against his will.

The whole scenery of garden in the beginning  and at the end is very calm and normal which is in a big contrast with the rest of the film. Expression and atmosphere of film is based on contrasts like this and on restless, bizarre look of everything. The streets and buildings are arranged in crazy, unrealistic diagonals with sharp-edge shadows that reminds viewer of knifes. Characters wearing dark clothes and make up and communicate with each other using a strong gestures. Furniture and buildings are built in angles that makes viewer feel unsettle and uncomfortable. All of this makes viewers believe that the characters are unsafe and they cannot trust one another. Throughout the whole film are shown small texts that are completing and explaining silent gesutres of characters. Even the font of texts giving viewer strong, restless emotion.

Sharp edges of shadows and strong contrast between dark and light. 

Sharp edge of window reminding viewer a knife. 

Texts that are appearing throughout the film. 

It is only at the end when scenery is back in the garden, when viewer realize that this whole story was just a fiction of sick mind. 


  1. Hi Michaela,
    Welcome to the world of the CAA film review :)

    You have made a good start discussing the use of the set design to create the atmosphere in this film, so well done there.

    You will see on your brief that you need to support your own discussion with at least 3 quotes from published sources. Have another look at the examples that Phil has flagged up here -


    You will see that the quotes are embedded within the discussion, and are referenced directly afterwards using the Harvard method. You will also see that you need to include a bibliography, and an image or illustrations list. You can find out how to use the Harvard method of referencing here -


    Looking forward to seeing what you make of 'Metropolis'!

  2. Hi Jackie,

    thank you very much for your advises. Phil already told us yesterday that we need to use Harvard method when we are writing film reviews so this time I will make Metropolis properly including a bibliography.

    And thank you for the links they are really helpful.:)