Thursday, October 27, 2011
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari: Set Design Exposing Character Mindset
Within the movie, the city buildings always arch inward. This is paralleled to Francis' feeling like the world is closing in on him. Francis, as we find out, is the one who is insane and trapped in the asylum, hence the slanted buildings do a great job of furthering this sense of being continuously watched over.
Consistently the walkways go off into odd directions. This gives us a sense of Francis' misdirection; he feels like he is lost within his mind, chasing after something hidden. In the story, Francis is chasing after his fiance, but in actuality, he is really just lost in his muddled mind chasing after nothing. The walkways symbolize the plight of the insane person.
Often times there are odd lines placed sporadically upon sets. This helps show how Francis feels like he is in a delusional state. Throughout the film, various items and forms appear to be in wonky states. For instance, there is one scene where the mayor is sitting in his office up on a chair. The chair that he sits on happens to be about 4 feet too high. This example, along with many others, additionally showcase this delusion state. Lines create a sense of false repetition, hence a sense of being delusional.
A lot of the sets give a feeling of being cramped. This obviously gives the feeling of Francis being trapped. Francis is both trapped in his mind and trapped in the asylum. These cramped sets just show that there is no escaping for Francis!
As Tim Burton once said, “One person's craziness is another person's reality.” Except, in this case, Francis' craziness is HIS reality!