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.