Set during the winter, the story tells the tale of a track checker and his family who live a poverty-stricken life next to a railway line. They receive a telegram announcing the arrival of ... See full summary »

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Bahnwärter
Edith Posca ...
Tochter des Bahnwärters
Hermine Straßmann-Witt ...
Frau des Bahnwärters
Paul Otto ...
Bahninspektor
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Set during the winter, the story tells the tale of a track checker and his family who live a poverty-stricken life next to a railway line. They receive a telegram announcing the arrival of the section inspector, who is to live with the family. Written by A Cinema History

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train | railway | See All (2) »

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Drama

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27 May 1921 (Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Shattered  »

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The First "Kammerspiele"

"Scherben" ( Shattered ) (1921) is the most well-known and celebrated film directed by Herr Lupu Pick, a film director who was Romanian by birth but German by adoption. This movie is considered to be the first "Kammerspiele", or, in the Shakespearian language, a story set in closed spaces, a kind of intimate film theater wherein ordinary lives are depicted in detail, placing special emphasis on psychological aspects of the characters and their particular circumstances.

As an excellent example of "Kammerspiele", "Scherben" meets all these requirements from its very beginning; for example, the way that Herr Pick shows the daily life of a railway signalman and his family, a wife and a daughter. It's a monotonous existence for all of them and one that will be broken into pieces once a railway inspector comes unexpectedly into their tranquil lives.

The drama and the suffering of the characters are depicted in a theatrical way but with cinematic means as well. Herr Pick uses close-ups efficiently to focus on the shattered lives of the characters and the setting, an isolated spot in the snowy mountains, adds to the psychological impact of the story and creates an atmosphere of claustrophobia.

Whenever " Kammerspiele" films are discussed there is always controversy about whether these films were essential precursors of Expressionism or if they contain implicit elements of that movement. To this German count such artistic film styles cannot be separated as can be seen in "Scherben"; there are aspects that probably will be developed later in the most celebrated Expressionist films, but the primordial film style of Expressionism was already implicit in "Kammerspiele" although in a kind of primitive way.

"Scherben" as a pioneer "Kammerspiele", that is to say, an avant-garde film, demonstrates the quintessential German concern about specific artistic intentions and style; such purposes which finally would give the German silent films praise around the world whatever the film genre.

And now, if you'll allow me, I must temporarily take my leave because this German Count must catch a train.

Herr Graf Ferdinand Von Galitzien http://ferdinandvongalitzien.blogspot.com


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