Der Kleiderschrank des Dr. Caligari: Een analyse van de kostumering in Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari

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This thesis offers an analysis of the costuming in the film Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari (1920) directed by Robert Wiene. It is specifically concerned with how the costuming contributes to the expressionist storytelling of the film. Caligari belongs to the German Expressionist cinema. These films can be identified by their highly stylized aesthetic. Thus, it is argued that the mise-en-scène contributes to the Expressionist ideas and the deeper, symbolic meaning of the film. However, costuming is somewhat forgotten in this area. As a result, academic publications that specifically address costuming in German Expressionist films are not readily available. This thesis aims to change that. A close reading of the costumes in the film is presented and this analysis is further extended using theories and views from three different fields of scholarship: film history, costume studies, and horror studies. This demonstrates that the costuming in Caligari certainly contributes to the film's Expressionist storytelling. Most notably, the costumes appear to be a graphic translation of the psyche of the most important characters in the film. Besides this, the costumes also contribute in various ways to the film's main themes of madness and the breakdown of reality.
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