The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari – silent film by Robert Wiene (Germany, 1920)
Organ music for The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari commissioned by ZDF/ARTE Première World première the first performance of a digitally restored and tinted version from the Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau Foundation
This event is a collaboration between the Berlin International Film Festival, Berlin Philharmonic Foundation and ZDF/ARTE. The performance is part of Berlinale Classics, a series of retrospectives organized by the German Cinematheque Foundation (Stiftung Deutsche Kinemathek).
On 28 February 1920, two days after the premiere of the “phantastical film” The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, the following notice appeared in the Berliner Tageblatt: “For several weeks now, a raised hand on posters has been warning us: ‘You must become Caligari!’... Now we know why and are only too glad to submit to the film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Even more compelling here than the abundantly fantastic plot is the director’s success in translating the romantically crashing waves, turbulence and cinematic blatancy of the story into compelling images. An expressionistic experiment has been dared – and has wholly succeeded.” From the very beginning, Robert Wiene’s The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari was hailed by press and public alike as one of the most modern and daring films of its day. Today this silent masterpiece is a universally acknowledged classic of German Expressionism. Its narrative mix of normal and mad – tracing through hypnosis the consequences of authority, power, tyranny, despotism and propaganda – has lost nothing of its suggestive power. Now you can experience the film in a digitally restored and tinted version from the Murnau Foundation and Bologna’s Cinema Ritrovato festival in co-operation with the Berlinale and Berlin Philharmonic Foundation (Stiftung Berliner Philharmoniker). The international premiere will take place at an organ matinee in the Philharmonie. The New York saxophonist, organist, bandleader and composer John Zorn, enfant terrible of new music and jazz, will accompany Caligari at the Karl Schuke organ, playing the world premiere of his new score for the film commissioned by ZDF and ARTE.