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The Cabinet of Dr Caligari - Wellington Film Society

The Cabinet of Dr Caligari - Wellington Film Society

Sorry this event has been and gone


  • Mon 27 Jun ’16, 6:15pm – 7:45pm


The Paramount Theatre, 25 Courtenay Place, Wellington


All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Members Free: $0.00
  • 12-month membership: $95.00
  • Public by Donation at the door (Notes only): $5.00

The Cabinet of Dr Caligari - (Robert Wiene, Germany 1920) - 74 mins

Warped in all senses, fascinating and bizarre: this is the 1920 silent movie by Robert Wiene that lay down a template for today's scary movies, noirs and psychological thrillers. And it is topped off with a surprise ending that still gets used all the time now. With all the weird gaping and gurning, and the distorted perspective of its expressionist sets, Caligari is a nightmarish cinematic extension of Bram Stoker's 1897 classic Dracula, combining as it does romantic superstition with the supposedly rational world of psychiatric surveillance and control.

Werner Krauss plays Dr Caligari, a mysterious showman who comes to a small German fair with his coffin-sized cabinet containing the corpse-like figure Cesare, played by the young Conrad Veidt, later to play Major Strasser in Casablanca. Caligari says that this wraith is a somnambulist; from birth he has never woken up, and this lifelong trance gives him the power to predict the future of any audience member.

Horrors ensue and Caligari and his cabinet spread panic. The film draws on the eerie, occult experience of early cinema itself, whose flickering ghostly images - such as Caligari's cabinet, and all kinds of fashionable table-rapping and fortune-telling – were often to be presented in fairground tents. Caligari is a crazy black mass all on its own, a mute opera of fear. - adapted from Clayton Dillard, Slant, 14 November 2014.

Screened in cooperation with the Goethe Institut. This is a live cinema event with accompaniment by the Somnabulist Sect.

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