Tim Burton: A German Expressionist Influence video essay shows how the director draws from Nosferatu, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, and more (VIDEO).

A Striking Video Essay Shows How Tim Burton Draws From German Expressionism

A Striking Video Essay Shows How Tim Burton Draws From German Expressionism

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June 18 2015 12:50 PM

A Striking Video Essay Shows How Tim Burton Draws From German Expressionism

Burton_Batman_Metropolis

Whatever your take on his most recent movies, Tim Burton remains one of the most distinctive visual stylists of the last 30 years. And among the biggest inspirations for his unusual compositions are the German Expressionist films of the 1920s and early ’30s.

For film geeks, the connection between the two is probably obvious—the chiaroscuro lighting, the jagged angles, the themes of madness and technology and the grotesque. But viewing specific moments side-by-side, as in this great short video from Cinema Sem Lei (via Indiewire), makes the similarities between the likes of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis and Batman Returns, or F.W. Murnau’s Nosferatu and Dark Shadows, that much more striking. You may never look at his movies quite the same way again.

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Aisha Harris is a Slate culture writer and host of the Slate podcast Represent.