The Hands of Orlac

Thursday, April 25, 2024 - 7:00pm
Humanities Quadrangle, Alice Theatre
320 York Street
New Haven, CT 06511

Two Milestones in German Expressionism

Robert Wiene directed the silent horror film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari in the aftermath of World War I, while the horrors of industrialized warfare and fanatical nationalism persisted. Political instability, hyperinflation, mass unemployment, and urban conflict defined the 1920s in Germany, giving rise to expressionist cinema. These conditions inspired hallucinatory films full of nightmares, mystery, crime, madness, and desire. Films at the Whitney presents two striking examples from this unique creative period in partnership with the Yale University Art Gallery and the exhibition Munch and Kirchner: Anxiety and Expression.

Series curator: Lorenz Hegel, Ph.D. candidate in Film and Media Studies and German Studies

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)
Thursday, April 11 • 7:00 pm• Alice Cinema (HQ L01) 

A twisted story of hypnosis, somnambulism, murder, and mystery set in a distorted world of shadows. Termed the “first true horror film,” Robert Wiene’s The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is both the definitive work of German Expressionism and a landmark of cinema history at large. This stellar 4k restoration recreates the tinting of the original, adding to the feverish atmosphere of the film.

The Hands of Orlac (1924) 
Thursday, April 25 • 7:00 pm• Alice Cinema (HQ L01) 

After a train crash, a renowned pianist wakes up in horror: his hands have been amputated and replaced with the hands of an executed murderer. Depicting an artist’s continuous descent into paranoia and madness, The Hands of Orlac is a haunting example of German Expressionism that reunites Dr. Caligari director Robert Wiene and actor Conrad Veidt in another spellbinding performance.

Donald Sosin and Joanna Seaton bring their unique blend of keyboards, vocals and percussion to major film festivals—New York, TriBeCa, San Francisco, Seattle, Denver, Telluride, Yorkshire—and to MoMA, Film at Lincoln Center, AFI Silver, and other notable venues. They perform often at Italy’s annual silent film retrospectives in Bologna and Pordenone. They have appeared numerous times at Yale, Harvard, Brown, Cornell, and Emory Universities, and created scores for over 65 silent film DVDs on the Criterion, Kino, Milestone, Flicker Alley and other labels. Their workshops in silent film music and songwriting are popular with students of all ages.