A public project marking the centenary years of Weimar film
In 1919 Germany emerged from the chaos of defeat in the First World War, and the chaos of civil war, to establish an advanced democracy which history named 'The Weimar Republic'. Plagued by misfortune and open hostility from
many sections of society, Weimar society produced an astonishing array of artistic, architectural and literary accomplishments, foremost of which was its fascinating and highly-acclaimed cinema.
The Weimar 100 project seeks to mark the premiere of key films from this fascinating period of German history. Annual centenary screenings will be held at the University of Warwick, accompanied by introductory talks, which will map out the development of film through the years of the Weimar Republic, in terms of their reflection of, and influence upon, Germany at the time, as well as noting their impact on film history.
The following events have been held to date:
2019 Madame Dubarry (Ernst Lubitsch, 1919)
5th December 2019
Lubitsch's historical epic launched his career and set a standard for the filmic output of the young democracy: a film which staged the French Revolution in such a way as to shed light on the revolutionary fervour of the Republic's birth, and asked questions around society, the class system, and justice. See a report of this event, generously supported by a University of Warwick WATE award, here: https://warwick.ac.uk/services/od/academic-development/wate/givingwateto/ianroberts
2020 Das Cabinet des Dr Caligari (The Cabinet of Dr Caligari, Robert Wiene, 1920)
4th November 2020
Considered by many scholars as Weimar's pre-eminent example of Expressionist film, Robert Wiene's film strove to render visible the inner workings of the mind. With its stark warning of the threat of unchecked authoritarianism the film informed Kracauer's seminal 1947 study From Caligari to Hitler. This year's event was affected by the UK's pandemic lockdown; it was held online via MS Teams. Please contact the event organisers if you would like to watch the recording of the event.
2021 Der müde Tod (Destiny, Fritz Lang, 1921)
18th November 2021
The main staple of early Weimar cinema was the serialised adventure film, providing some welcome escapism for weary audiences. Lang's Der müde Tod sought to capitalise on this sensationalist trend whilst adding a layer of artistic respectability to cinema (still regarded with some suspicion and hostility by literary and theatrical circles). Simultaneously Lang, together with his wife Thea von Harbou and the might of Germany's booming film studios, established a template for narrative filmmaking in Weimar which was to result in some of the finest films of the era.
Future programme (provisional):
2022 Nosferatu (F. W. Murnau, 1922)
2023 Die Strasse (The Street, Karl Grune)
All films will be shown with English intertitles/subtitles. Programme subject to change.