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12 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
The Expressive Street, 6 June 2006
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This film inaugurated a few "street films" in Weimer Germany,
including, notably, "The Joyless Street" (Die Freundlose Gasse)(1925).
Additionally, horrific and expressionistic street scenes feature
prominently in many films of this era. The street in this film is quite
remarkable. Apparently, the action, automobiles and all, takes place
entirely within studio sets, giving the filmmakers control over the
lighting. And, the lighting is great, with nighttime-like scenes full
of shadows and darkly lit corners. Staircases are also featured
prominently, as they are in many German pictures of the time.
"The Street" is simply about a man, who leaves his wife and humdrum life to seek the excitement of a Parisian street. He spends most of the story chasing after a prostitute thief, which eventually leads him to prison and despair. He then returns to his previous life. Siegfried Kracauer, in "From Carlgari to Hitler: A Psychological History of the German Film", says the film is about going from rebellion to submission--foretelling the German people's submission to the Nazi regime. "The Street" is also another of Carl Meyer's "instinct films", as Kracauer calls them, which also includes "Backstairs" (Hintertreppe)(1921) and, most notably, "The Last Laugh" (Der Letzte Mann)(1924). The characters in these films act instinctively, which affords their stories to transcend intertitles. As with the other "instinct films", there are few intertitles in "The Street".
The lack of many title cards enhances the visual qualities of the picture. Moreover, the street itself seems to take on a life of its own. It enters the film by tempting the man with a shadow play on his ceiling. And, as fellow commenter hhole mentioned, an optometrist's shop sign makes it seem as though the street is watching the man. "The Street" is impressively photographed and innovative for its expressionistic visuals and embodiment of the street.
8 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
a great film, 7 April 2002
Author: (hhole) from usa
This highly influential movie was the first of the German "Street" films. It tells the story of one night in which a middle aged man is lured away from his happy home into the thrills and dangers of the city streets. The city is an expressionistic nightmare, a dangerous and chaotic place. The unfortunate man encounters thieves, prostitutes, and other predators. But the real threat to security and order is the street itself. In one extraordinary scene the bumbling man passes an optometrist's shop on a crooked, deserted street. The moment his back is turned, an enormous neon sign, a pair of eyeglasses, blinks on. The street itself is alive and watching.
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