Film Info: VON CALIGARI ZU HITLER

FROM CALIGARI TO HITLER (VON CALIGARI ZU HITLER)

FROM CALIGARI TO HITLER
photo © Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau Foundation

The Weimar Republic, from 1918 to 1933, was the freest state on German soil; a wild era characterized by political disruption, economic crisis and cultural brilliance. It was also the most important period of German cinema, even to the present day. The aesthetic foundations were laid for the “seventh art”; Weimar’s directors like Murnau, Lang, Lubitsch, Pabst, Sternberg and Ruttmann are still legendary today, and its stars are unforgotten.

Cinema concentrated many tendencies of the period after the First World War: a latent fear of destruction in German society as it danced on a volcano, between hedonist lust and inevitable crisis – an explosive mixture.

Siegfried Kracauer described this epoch in Von Caligari zu Hitler, the best-known of German film books to date. It tells of world war trauma, the fear of crisis, and the longings for a leader in German film – in other words: the way in which film presaged the era of totalitarianism and anticipated its events. What does cinema know that we don’t?

Suchsland’s film investigates this question, tracing the diversity and riches of this film epoch. He shows that Weimar cinema was far more than Expressionism. It reflected the new possibilities, the sense of departure in a young republic.


Rüdiger Suchsland studied History, Philosophy and Political Science. Primarily active as a journalist and critic for print, radio and internet, he is also a speaker, instructor and author on the thematic subjects of film, theory, East Asia, zeitgeist, and contemporary issues. He is a member of the programming committee of film festivals in Mannheim-Heidelberg and Ludwigshafen and other international festivals and served as the German correspondent for the Cannes’ Critics’ Week from 2001-2012. Since 2004, he has held various senior positions at the Association of German Film Critics. Together with Josef Schnelle, he co-authored the book Zeichen und Wunder: Das Kino von Zhang Yimou und Wong Kar-Wai. FROM CALIGARI TO HITLER (2014) is his documentary feature debut.
Genre Art, History
Category Documentary
Year of Production 2014
Director Rüdiger Suchsland
Screenplay Rüdiger Suchsland
Cast Fatih Akin, Elisabeth Bronfen, Thomas Elsaesser, Volker Schlöndorff, Eric D. Weitz
Producer Martina Haubrich
Production Company LOOKS Filmproduktionen/Berlin, in cooperation with Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau Foundation/Wiesbaden, Deutsche Kinemathek - Museum für Film und Fernsehen/Berlin, Deutsches Filminstitut - DIF/Wiesbaden, ARTE, ZDF/Mainz
Length 113 min
Format DCP, color, b&w, 1:1.78
Original Version
 German
Subtitled Versions English, Italian
Festivals Venice 2014 (Classics), IDFA 2014, Viennale 2014, Göteborg 2015, Istanbul 2015, IndieLisboa 2015, BAFICI 2015, Hong Kong 2015, Cambridge 2015, Sevilla European Film Festival 2015, Palic 2016
With backing from BKM, German Federal Film Fund, MEDIA, Hessische Filmförderung
German Distributor Real Fiction Filmverleih/Cologne

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