Thymiane is a beautiful young girl who is not having a storybook life. Her governess, Elizabeth, is thrown out of her home when she is pregnant, only to be later found drown. That same day,... See full summary »
A poor student rescues a beautiful countess and soon becomes obsessed with her. A sorcerer makes a deal with the young man to give him fabulous wealth and anything he wants, if he will sign... See full summary »
A group of German infantrymen of the First World War live out their lives in the trenches of France. They find brief entertainment and relief in a village behind the lines, but primarily ... See full summary »
Georg Wilhelm Pabst
Antinea. the Queen of Atlantis, rules her secret kingdom hidden beneath the Sahara Desert. One day two lost explorers stumble into her kingdom, and soon realize that they haven't really ... See full summary »
Two soldiers--searching the Sahara for Atlantis--are captured by raiders from the lost city. They are taken before its beautiful queen who has over 50 mummified ex-lovers! What follows is ... See full summary »
For Balduin, going out to beer parties with his fellow students and fighting out disputes at the tip of the sword have lost their charms. He wants to find love; but how would he, a ... See full summary »
Elizza La Porta,
Prologue: The murderer "Boss" Huller - after having spent ten years in prison - breaks his silence to tell the warden his story. "Boss", a former trapeze artist, and his wife own a cheap ... See full summary »
Ewald André Dupont
Lya De Putti
In and around a bell maker near Marburg (today Slovenia) people tell the story of a treasure that was hidden during the Turki invasion of 1683, the year the Turkish Army was besieging ... See full summary »
Georg Wilhelm Pabst
Unable to convince Sigmund Freud to serve as a consultant, producer Hans Neumann still tried to achieve the approval of the psychoanalytic community. Karl Abraham, part of Freud's inner circle and the President of the International Association of Psychoanalysis, was hired as the chief consultant for the project and promised 10% of the film's profit. Abraham tried, quite unsuccessfully, to convince Freud to endorse the project. The film caused a major rift in their friendship, which was never fully mended. Abraham died of cancer on Christmas Day 1925, before the film's release. See more »
I come to this as someone who thinks the presentation of dreams - much more than dreams themselves - imitates the ways we use to structure the self that presents the world to us. Charting the cinematic effort of that is exciting to me.
And well, this is an interesting film to say the least, and from an interesting time. The backstory is that Freud himself approved of it and moreover sent two from his trusted Viennese circle to aid and supervise the UFA production on what would be a rational explication of psychoanalysis. You should know that his were radical , modern ideas in their time and for twenty years had been a sensation. And the Weimar public at large was struggling with deep-seated nightmares of their own, evidenced in Caligari and elsewhere, so it was very receptive to the new science for sleep, and probably every bit as confused about it as the somnambulist in Caligari.
But oh boy, haven't our narrative devices come far since Freud.
In the film, we have suddenly strange , unsettling urges followed by a puzzling nightmare, and then a psychoanalyst sits us down to kindly explain and assuage irrational fear.
Nevermind the obtuse focus on sex and symbolic interpretation of dreams, that was Freud. The emphasis on phallic imagery, the incidental aversion to knives linked to imaginary castration in the patient. Jung would make the transition to a character-based dreamworld, and we are growing out of that too. We are insanely more complicated beings these days than a logic like Freud's can explain, our dreams much more layered, and you can see that in contemporary filmmakers who are dabbling with dream.
We are unsure these days where day begins, that much (night) was certain then. Our dreams also come from movies and TV, from tweets and instagram, and we're beginning to understand what the Buddhist had been saying all along; the mind's function is to project snippets of narrative around a fictional self, and the most loaded dream is no different in mechanism to the most trivial thought. You are always at the center of an illusionary world you have set in motion, but you won't know that without a center in emptiness.
The trigger for it is something to consider though. A murder (by knife) has taken place the day before in the same street, a wife killed by the husband. The same urge somehow surfaces in our guy.
The actual nightmare has dated, along with the logic behind it and German expressionism. It is this eerie confluence of semiconscious machinery that still carries power. It is this aspect of dreaming Pabst would cultivate in later works.
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