Sunday, 29 August 2010

Nosferatu: eine Symphonie des Grauens

This is a German film from 1922 directed by F.W.Murnau.

It's a B&W silent horror film and uses title cards (with an eye-burning cyan background in my version) to explain what's going on in the story. Nosferatu is based on the Dracula story that the team were unable to require the rights to at the time, hence different names, locations, etc. They outright stole it.

After seeing the Herzog/Kinski version of Nosferatu, I think both versions have merits unique to their own. This isn't because this is the original and I feel a 'loyalty' towards it, it's because of the huge time difference. Herzog had a lot more to work with, namely audio. I'd like to see a silent film today. I think good visuals, good acting, and good music aren't exploited enough due to dialogue trying to do the work of literature.

In the 2000 release starring more commercial actors like William Dafoe (played the Green Goblin in the Spider-Man films) the plot follows a fictionalised secret making of this film in which the actor (in the image) Max Schrek really was a vampire and was hired to play the part for realism. That, and the fact Klaus Kinski played the character can tell what sort of inspiration this had on people.

This is hailed as a classic film, hence the remakes and copious amounts of directors being inspired by it. I'm not a film or art student, and therefore I don't go to class and learn how to analyse silent films, the German expressionist movement, etc. This guy will tell you that you need to be if you want your opinion to be of worth (or at least seem to). You'll also need to structure any thoughts and opinions with as many obscure synonyms you can muster.

To spite him I'm going to say I enjoyed the film. I don't care if it's of high artistic quality. The facial makeup was brilliant, the aura and feeling of the film was eerie -- the fact it's a silent B&W film helps -- the way Nosferatu moves all spider-like and very authentically puts later films to shame. I believe this was shot in places like Slovakia, a lot of the scenery is really impressive, especially the Count's castle and surrounding countryside (there's no real emphases on this though), the acting isn't "realistic" because the actors move too fast, the camera's a little shaky, there's no dialogue, there's "ye olde" English title cards.. But all this helps to stylise the film. That style isn't gimmicky, and I won't say "it's more relevant to today" (as reviewers love to say), it gives the film character. To me that is what I appreciate with any form of art.

I don't like vampire or horror flicks because it's a (crap) genre. It's the same with anything: fantasy/sf books, rock music, etc. I'd like to ignore all genres except Good and Bad. This film goes into the former.

No comments: