Ideology II

film 1 of 5


Draft Review by Dean Duncan Jun 9, 2015

Karl Freund uber alles; after all these viewings (and I really must see a non-disco version again) it still grips tremendously, for all its mighty creakings, this I think is an expressionist movie (so often not true in German 20s, as we settle for inaccurate historical clichés), a fact most borne out by extremely interesting performances, by that black gloved Mabuse guy, by the profoundly goofy and hard to take Freder, by the profoundly twisty and impossible to take your eyes off of Maria (it’s the porcelain face and the omnipresent suggestion of those small bosoms), by her eye-popping bio-mechanics turn as the evil robot, elsewhere all sorts of distended worker types and over the top crazed mobs, the cathedral part is fascinating, what with all these crosses and religious posturing, with never a god mentioned, and this vague talk of a mediator; in fact Kracauer’s suggestion of incipient Naziism is pretty hard to dispute, especially with the workers marching at the end like they did at the beginning, with the hysterical portrayal of the agents and results of social activism (automatons and apocalypse), Maria caught stuff extremely fun, here as elsewhere this Gance(Freund)-camera on a roller skate material is exhilerating–no limits to what the imagination can conceive, and to what the technology can realize (cf. the design, the animations, drawings, Schuftans etc.), like children used shamelessly and effectively, destructions great, cathedral top battle is a yawn, the resolution, with the mediator bringing together the hands and the heart, is just dumb and just irresistible, especially in this version, as one of the students observed, Pat Benatar rules