film lt the murderers are among us gt

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Question 1: Please read this film still. (File 1)

Pay attention to how the image is composed. Where is the camera positioned? How are the various elements of the shot arranged and framed (mise-en-scène). Take note of the objects that are closest and furthest away from the camera to understand what’s highlighted in the scene. How is the scene lit? What atmosphere is being created? How are the actors dressed, grouped, and positioned? What themes and meanings of the film The Murderers Are Among Us are conveyed in this film still? (250 words)

Example: This film still from Wolfgang Staudte’s The Murderers Are Among Us captures Susanne Wallner and Hans Mertens staring out the broken glass windows from their apartment and into the ruins left behind by the war. The broken glass in this scene can symbolize the fact that the horrors of the war cannot be hidden and are always present even in what would be assumed to be the comfort of your own home. The war has changed the entire country and their everyday lives, evidenced by the fact that Susanne must now live with a complete stranger like Hans Mertens. The apartment itself is very dark with many shadows symbolizing the sadness and uncertainty that both Susanne and Hans must carry on for the rest of their lives as the entire country tries to recover from the destruction and violence of the war. Susanne’s face is brightly lit while Hans’ face is hidden behind the shattered glass and shadows of the apartment. They look onto the present of Germany and possibly onto the distant future of the country. Susanne looks on with determination to overcome the obstacles that such a situation has presented while Hans looks on in bitterness and disappointment for the actions seen during the war. Susanne is also dressed in bright clothes while Hans is shown wearing dark clothing representing Susanne’s optimism towards the future of Germany and her commitment to helping Hans overcome his guilty conscience towards the horrors of the war. Wolfgang Staudte also makes reference to past German expressionist films throughout this film and he does it here too with his play with light and shadows reminiscent of films such as The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.

Question 2 : Analyze the first sequence (end at 2:13 in the film)

How many individual shots does the sequence consist of? What can be seen? What filmic techniques are prominently used in this sequence (from camera angles and movements to lighting and to editing)? What is the symbolic meaning of the sequence’s visual elements? What can be said about the music? What picture of Germany after the war is being conveyed in this sequence? What clues does this opening sequence provide for the ensuing film narrative?


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