In the aftermath of World War I, the Deutsches Reich underwent great social, political, and financial upheaval. Following the adoption of a new constitution that applied between 1919 and 1933, Germany during this period became known as the Weimar Republic, named after the city in which the national assembly was convened.
Despite the significant difficulties being faced by the Republic, this was also a time of great cultural creativity. Cinema in particular flourished, as a generation of filmmakers appeared whose technical and narrative innovations mark this as a critical period in the development and history of the medium. Expressionism, the first movement to gain popularity, sought to counter realism by stylising and distorting elements such as set design and lighting, as well as using symbolism and fantastic material, in order to better explore a character’s subjective perspective.
As the 1920s progressed however, the movement fell out of fashion in favour of New Objectivity, which saw a return to realism as filmmakers began to turn the camera on contemporary German society and its ills, focusing on those reduced to living in the margins.
This season seeks to acknowledge the enduring legacy of Weimar-era cinema, with major figures represented by films which, though perhaps lesser known, are no less powerful.
Introduction and notes on individual films by Kevin Coyne. This season is presented in association with Goethe-Institut Irland.
The IFI is supported by The Arts Council