Visionary Architecture on Film: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

Visionary Architecture on Film: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

Thursday, March 23, 2023

6:00 PM–7:00 PM
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Cinema has long built new worlds on screen, whether through ambitious architectural set design or, more recently, computer generated imagery (CGI). Presented in conjunction with the exhibition Portals: The Visionary Architecture of Paul Goesch, this series presents five films whose backdrops are themselves works of art. Each of them reveals the important role film has played as a site for architectural experimentation and a way of imagining the future.

The Cabinet of Dr. Cagliari (1920, 51 minutes) may be the quintessential film of German Expressionism. A hypnotist uses a sleep-walking man to commit murder—and the absurdity of the plot is rivaled only by the film’s bizarre and elaborate set designs. Beyond its visual delights, Dr. Caligari critiques both the absurdity of bureaucracy and the interwar German government through its narrative.

This series is organized by Ella Comberg, MA ’24 in the Williams Graduate Program in the History of Art.