Lighting in The Cabinet of Dr.Caligari


The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari a classic German expressionism silent film. The film is regarded as one of the most famous in the progression of the horror genre. This scene in particular shows the sleepwalker kidnapping a virgin. Being the expressionistic and horror film it was meant to be, the film definitely has significant lighting effects.

This photo makes use of chiaroscuro lighting and low key lighting to create contrast between the environment and the characters. The space and the occupancy of light is on the sleepwalking almost like a spotlight. This is to show the situation and how, at that moment, it is critical that he get away. The use of these lighting techniques and how it shows contrast, especially in horror films, is to show the mystery or perhaps the evil in characters. In this photo, the contrast is so strong between the sleepwalker and the virgin, showing how different and opposite the two beings are, almost light good from evil.


The most interesting lighting aspect to me in this picture is the shapes that are surrounding the two talents that the lights create. They seem to be very contrasting with each other and also are very random and almost spastic, creating a sense of the unknown or maybe panic. Unknown because we do not know what is going to happen to the girl and panic because, well, how would you react if you were kidnapped?

The chiaroscuro and low key lighting really help intensify this picture. This lighting also causes a type of confusion to the audience and makes them wonder where he may be leading off to because his surroundings are all very dark. I also like how the lighting really contrasts on his face of panic.

The lighting of this picture is very interesting. It looks very abstract because of the big contrast of the black and white. At first, I did not recognize he was carrying a woman in his arm. But her black eye shadow caught my attention. The use of chiaroscuro lighting intensify the characters and situation, which matches with the man`s shock facial expression.

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This page contains a single entry by wuxxx814 published on January 29, 2013 7:44 PM.

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