Assignment 05 – M (1931)

Assignment 05 – M (1931)

In a two page paper cite at least three instances where the film M fits into the classic definition of the German Expressionistic Genre.

Assignment 05 – M (1931)

Director
Fritz Lang
Theme
Searching for Justice
Motifs
Circles
Clocks

M was arguably as influential — if not more — as Metropolis and was seen as a game-changer in more than one way. Culturally speaking, it was considered ahead of its time; while it is not the first film to focus on a mass murderer as an antagonist, it is the first of them to genuinely explore the mind of one and listen to what he is saying. The result is a morally complex tale that poses several questions, avoids easy answers and reminds society that killers are not monsters but humans among us who look and act like us. For this reason, M was significant in developing the psychological thriller genre which would lead to further masterpieces such as Psycho, The Silence of the Lambs and Seven.

M (1931) was Lang’s first sound movie, and he uses sound in the film in equally innovative, thoughtful ways, to keep viewers off-kilter by approaching the narrative from unexpected angles. Hans’ signature whistling lets the audience (and the Beggars’ Guild) track his presence and his movements even when he’s offscreen.

Throughout M, Fritz Lang uses a variety of genre tropes from German Expression. Film tropes are thematic storytelling devices that communicate something figurative to an audience. They can be something as simple as an object with symbolic meaning or something as complex as an action with referential meaning. Essentially, film tropes are anything that allude to something other than their literal meaning.

Characteristics of German Expressionism

  • High angles
  • Deep shadows/chiaroscuro lighting
  • Extreme camera tilting
  • Impossible sets

Prompt
In a two page paper cite at least three instances where the film M fits into the classic definition of the German Expressionistic Genre. Specifically in detail describe the scene, relate how this is an example of German Expressionism and then explain how it assists the narrative.

Answer preview for in a two page paper cite at least three instances where the film M fits into the classic definition of the German Expressionistic Genre.

APA

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