Thoughts on the future of film

Cinema is not a single medium anymore, it is a medium that brings people together. I think, cinema changed from a special and magical medium to a social medium which became ‘normal’ in our society. In times like Netflix or Amazon Prime we do not have to wait for a certain movie and we are not bonded on the film schedule. We brought cinema to the living room,  so that going to the cinema became more than a social event like having a date, eating popcorn together or having a chilled night than a big event that is planned weeks before.
Having the opportunity to watch a movie in a cinema whenever you want to made cinema and film to nothing special anymore. It is not a big deal to go to the cinema and we are not surprised anymore when we see an action, science fiction or western movie. So, it gets more and more seldom, that we are going to the cinema for a particular film because we do not have to wait for long until we can watch those movies at home on our sofa. We do not think that movies are something magical anymore.

Although, we do not have to watch the whole movie at once if we have not enough time. We do not take the risk to pay for something, we do not really like. If we are bored or chose the wrong film, we are just able to switch to another one without any consequences. Also, we are not forced to watch the whole movie. We can just stop it, if we have other plans or obligations we are able to just stop the film and continue watching whenever we have time to.

Additionally, it is easy to replay movies from former times or of any genre you can imagine. We have so many film genres and so many possibilities to produce films. It is nearly overwhelming and sometimes I think we have to many possibilities. It is not like there is a specific type or genre like the in the 1940s the Film Noir or the German expressionism films.

Nevertheless, I think, the future of film is different. There are already a few cinemas in Europe, where the viewers can vote for their favorite movie and it is going to be shown in the evening. Also, there are interactive movies where we can chose what is going to happen next, so that a movie is going to be an unique event and probably this evolution will bring people back to the cinemas. Also, there is another new technology: the 4D cinema, where the viewers are sitting in moving and vibrating chairs which supports the special effects. Also, 3D cinema is getting more popular and watching a movie – no matter if we are in a cinema or our living room – gets even more real.

Another point it the price. Over here in Singapore going to the cinema is one of the cheapest things to do. In an expensive city going to the cinema is one of the cheapest things to do, so that it is a popular pastime. But in European countries going to the cinema is expensive. That is probably one of the reasons why especially the younger generation is increasingly considering whether it is worth it to go to the cinema, if it is much easier and cheaper to invite friends home. That shows, that especially in European countries going to the cinema is still a unique event, but it is not about the particular movie and more about the social event itself.

In conclusion I think, that cinema nowadays is more about simulating uniqueness under the circumstances of maximum standardization of the experience. And I think, films will get more specialized on visual effects with the aim, that watching a movie becomes a real-life experience. But at the same point I think, that cinema gets more and more online. The institution cinema will increase and the focus will get more and more to the online steaming medias which is also caused by the fact, that it is easy to transfer films online and nobody has to deal with heavy and impractical film-rolls.

The Femme Fatale – A woman without conscience?

The question about women in Film Noir is always a question of what is seen on the screen as a woman and what the woman represents in the ideology of the film and how this is interpreted. The image of women in the film Noir is very diverse and can hardly be described as a single image, rather, there are different images of women. Mostly, a crucial characteristic, namely the clear demarcation from the conventional image of women, the good housewife and mother, as well as the Film Noir also distinguishes itself from other genres, especially by its different and abstract character.

Double Indemnity is a prototypical Film Noir. It deals with crime, love and intrigues. The Film Noir, which emerged in the 1940s in America, tend to revolve around heroes who are unusually vicious and morally questionable. The femme fatale is the character most likely to be associated with Film Noir, though by no means all the classic Film Noirs show this character.
In comparison to the classical Hollywood films female characters in Film Noir have finally the opportunity to determine their own movements and statements.
The decade of Film Noir starts when men returned from war and women had to go back from their nearly independent roles to their roles as housewives, even if they didn’t want it. So, the Film Noir dealt with the issue of the powerful woman and her role in family and society.
With doing so, the role of women in films changed as well. What before was shown as weak, ineffectual figures which needed the male hero’s affection and protection turned to the powerful, provocative woman who was able to seduce men; the femme fatale.
As mentioned before, the most profound change for women in the development phase of Film Noir was, at least temporarily, their entry into the labor market. While the men were at war, the women who remained behind took over their work on the ground. After the return of the men, there were huge conflicts which, among other things, led to an unusually high divorce rate for this time. Despite, attempts to prioritize certain jobs for returning veterans, and to displace women from the labor market or at least low-profile jobs, many women insisted on their newfound right to pursue a job. Thus, it also becomes clear that the femme fatale is not only about stopping the corruption of men, but also to keep their independency and her strong status in the current society.


That leads to two prototypes at that time: On the one hand, there is the good girl, who is characterized as reliable, honest, loyal and obedient she went back to her role as a housewife and mother. She is kind of represented by Ida Corwin in Mildred Pierce (1945). And on the other hand, there is the femme fatale, the evil, sexually attractive, often self-confident, quick-witted woman who does not seem to be trustworthy, but who is so fascinating because of that. Phyllis

Dietrichson (Double Indemnity, 1944) is shown as a prototypical femme fatale. She has a dominant demeanor, a stunning personality, is independent and beautiful. She is also a rebel at the same time and always follows the latest fashion trend. Also, she is a plotting character and is playing with men and their life to achieve her own aims, what is a typical plot for Film Noir as well. Also typical is, that she convinces others to help her – here she convinces Neff to help her to murder her husband.  For her it is easy to wrap men around her finger and she is used to always getting what she wants without putting so much effort in it. Nevertheless, the main topic both typed of women must deal with is the patriarchy and to fight against sexual harassment at their working place.


In conclusion, the Film Noir reflects the uninterrupted ideological struggle within the patriarchy for the control of female sexuality and the femme fatale is forced by the society to always seem invulnerable, but it loses the opportunity to experience the sensation of sensibility in all its facets and is just reduced on her outward appearance in fact she is very smart and forward-looking even if it is not for the best reasons.  Also, the femme fatale is an ambivalent character who works for the rights of women, but at the same time for their own pleasure and their own advantage.




Grossmann, Julie: “The Proletarian woman’s film og the 1930’s: contending with censorship and entertainment.” In: Rethinking the femme fatale in film noir ready for her close-up. New York 2009: p.176.  b

Schrader, Paul: “Notes on the film noir”. p.581-591.

The Revolution of Sound – How the Jazz Singer changed the world

One of the most expressive films in the studios history is definitely The Jazz Singer (1927) by Alan Crosland. Although, it is named as the first talkie in film history it was originally planned as a silent film with six synchronized songs by one of the famous singer of the day: Al Jolson. So, The Jazz singer was supposed to be a silent movie with synchronized music as all the other silent movies were as well.

Thus, the question arises, why the film became so famous and important for film history?

In 1927 several sound systems were known and each studio experimented with synchronized speech and music on one film strip. At least, Warner Brothers did not intend to do the first talkie. Instead, they wanted to create a new genre: The Musical with their Vitaphone technique.
In addition to that, the audience did not know anything about sound-on-disk-systems or the opportunity of sound films and in 1927 there were just approximately less than 100 theatres that were equipped to show those Vitaphone films. So it becomes clear, that The Jazz Singer was not well thought-over, produced and released after many considerations since nothing was prepared for such a sound revolution.
The Times said aptly about The Jazz Singer: “The reason The Jazz Singer did not impress when it was first released was that most people were seeing a different silent vision of the movie.” (
What leads to another point: The plot. The combination of the religious heart, the musical and the complete leave out of a love story, which was common and normal at that time. Even the religious heart and the pure love of Al Jolson to his mother were not only something new in the film history but also a reason for the sympathetic and natural presentation of the film.
The two scenes in which Al Jolson improvised dialogue not only made him famous but were the decisive revolutionary progress in the film industry towards the sound film.
It says, that there were massive reactions with the audience who burst into standing ovations after those dialogue sequences and applause after each song. The directors used different sound techniques in the film like for example the call and response cuts which

can be seen in the scene when Jolson (Jack) was singing to his Mum.

They switched the camera between Jolson and his Mom, who was sitting in the theater audience. This had the effect that the viewers had a sense of simultaneity and simultaneous natural actions during watching the movie.
Warner Brothers created something new. They managed to create one of these unforgettable, surprising and at the same time terrifying revolutionary moments in history. The moment when the audience noticed that the silent film they had expected turned into something completely new, unexpected and spectacular is unique. I think today there would be the same surprised reaction (maybe not that positive), when a “normal” film suddenly turns into a silent or black and white movie just because it’ll be something unexpected and different, a shocking moment.
At least the mixture of both, the few scenes when Al Jolson talks, the synchronized music, the fact that it was the first feature length film and the background score in the tradition of the silent movies made the film so terrific. Precisely because it was not the entire film in which was spoken, the audience was not overwhelmed with so much progress, technology and innovation. The Jazz Singer should be viewed as more than a hybrid or a transitional film to accustom the audience to the future and new movie system.
But also, Al Jolson plays a big role when it comes to the success of the film. Many film critics praised Jolson in the highest tones. Through his spontaneous dialogue, he seemed to be even more appealing and sympathetic to the audience and thus not only the film, but also Al Jolson became the symbol for the first talkie and one of the greatest turning points in film history. He acts very natural in front of the camera and especially in the speaking scenes the sound replaces the exaggerated and unnatural gestures and facial expressions, which gave the viewers the feeling of reality once more.
Talking Scene
Silent Scene






In summary, it can be said that Warner Brothers have acted rightly at the right time. They have invested a great deal of money and have taken a great risk to create an innovation by chance. The choice of the actors, especially Al Jolson, was a blessing and nothing calculated or intentional. Nevertheless, it was the best way to surprise, shock and inspire the audience at the perfect moment.



Tankel, Jonathan D.: “The Impact of ‘The Jazz Singer’ on the Conversion to Sound.” In: Journal of the University Film Association. 30:1 (1978): p. 21-25

Online Response 1: About Horror Movies and German Expressionism

Paul  “Wiene’s love for films of the fantastic and macabre genre led to the production of the first true international German box office success, Robert Wiene’s Das Cabinett des Dr. Caligari (The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, 1920).” (Parkinson: A short history of film, 80) Wiene’s production was the forerunner of the modern horror film after movies like The Golem or Der Rattenfänger von Hameln.

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari wasn’t just a revolution of the silent movie film genre, but also a revolution of film making. Wiene created a new direction of film and shaped the German expressionism decisively.
The Cabinett of Dr. Caligari deals with two stories that are separated at the beginning but stick together and twist into one narrative at the end. Wiene created something totally new in every way. For the first time a film is created as a dream world, a totally unrealistic and magical world. Every detail is planned, the artificial and at the same time article background, where he combines two kinds of art:

film and abstract painting, especially the background in the dream world of Francis, the world of Dr. Caligari. Even the costumes are well considered in every detail to archive the greatest horrible and at least realistic effect in the unrealistic world of Dr. Caligari. Cesare, the somnambulist, was the first character on screen who plays an unrealistic, supernatural role.

The sudden elucidation of the story-within-the-story in the last scene causes the viewer to think about what he had seen before and to ask himself questions such as: What was real and what was the result of the patient’s imagination? Where were the interfaces to reality in its history? Is he crazy or did he really experience this? In the end, the viewer cannot be sure whether it is a spinning or the truth, because the story of Francis is just so realistic.
But apart from the great cost of costume, mask and stage design, Wiene also gives the viewer an uncomfortable, shuddering feeling through his special effects and camera control. He plays a lot with light and shadow and creates,

especially in the scene where Cesare murders Alan, some horrible scenes just by using shadows. Wiene has two prior reasons for using shadows in those scenes:

On the one hand, he is avoiding brutal scenes on the screen and on the other hand, the solution with the shadows is not just another creepy element, it was, especially at times after the First World War, where the budget for films was very small, the more cost-effective variant.
Besides, Wegener establishes artistic elements to his scenes, he also plays with different kinds of camera-effects.
Consequently, Wiene also knows a lot about the use of light. The various scenes have different colours. That causes again the effect of the myterious, crazy world of Dr. Caligari. As shown in the first picture the scene where Alan is murdered is set in a blue light.

In the scene, when Dr. Caligari presents Cesare for the first time he shows a close up of Cesare’s face while he is opening his eyes slowly. With the mask design Cesare appears nearly unreal and mysterious and the contrast between the light pale color of the mask and their dark-edged eye and mouth parts underlines the mysterious appearance of the somnabulist. It shows again the connection between mask, camera setting and musical background of the scenery. The movie deals with various fade-ins or fade-outs which underline the effect of a threatening and drastic atmosphere. Also, the “bizarre sets foreshortened perspective to tell the story of a serial killer loose in a modern metropolis, electrified audiences” (Parkinson: A short history of film, 80) by causing dramatical and scary emotions and effects. As you can see, this scene is set in a yellow, today we would say ‘vintage’, light.

In conclusion, it can be said, that Paul Wiene didn’t just create one of the first horror movies and with doing that also a new film genre, he also provided the basis for many more film ideas and film genres through his imaginative, fantastic and artistic portrayal.    In a purely cinematic The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari remains a revolutionary work

Charlie Chaplin – The Kid (1921)

Charlie’s first silent movie and his first time on stage as the Tramp. The Comedian was actor and regisseur at the same time and mixed dramatic scenes with humorous ones.