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Weimar 100

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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 most recent Weimar 100 event was a lecture and screening of Karl Grune's influential streetfilm Die Straße (The Street, 1923), held on Wednesday 29th November 2023 (exactly 100 years to the day after the film's original release).

The following Weimar 100 events have been held to date:

Go to: 2019 | 2020 | 2021 | 2022 | 2023 | 2024

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:

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.

2022 Nosferatu: Eine Symphonie des Grauens (Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror, F. W. Murnau, 1922)

17th November 2022

Murnau's celebrated vampire movie, heavily based on Bram Stoker's gothic novel Dracula (1897), was considered lost for many years after Stoker's widow successfully sued the filmmakers, and all copies of the film were ordered destroyed. Now fully restored, Nosferatu is a celebration of all-things unheimlich (uncanny, creepy) in German culture. Ghouls and monsters abound in the films of the Weimar Republic, coded references to a multitude of threats facing the young democracy, not least being that of a young woman's sexual awakening as the vampire approaches!

2023 Die Straße (The Street, Karl Grune, 1923)

29th November 2023

The film which supposedly launched the influential 'streetfilm' genre in Germany, strongly influencing the later film noir street films in 1950s USA, Grune's The Street explores the mixture of fear and attraction associated with modernism and the lure of the big city. A respectable and nondescript worker abandons his wife for a night of revelry and licentiousness only to get caught up in a murder and very nearly lose everything he holds dear. He returns home to his loyal wife, seemingly chastened... but might he be tempted to dip his toe into city life once again?

Future programme (provisional):

2024 Der letzte Mann (The Last Laugh, F. W. Murnau, 1924)

2025 Die freudlose Gasse (Joyless Streets, G. W. Pabst, 1925)

2026 Der heilige Berg (The Holy Mountain, Arnold Fanck, 1926)

2027 Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927)

All films will be shown with English intertitles/subtitles. Programme subject to change.