Warning Shadows

Watching German movies from the 1920s always makes me wonder how German movies would look today, if the Nazis wouldn‘t have killed, banned and exiled all this creative energy. The surreal and strangely gothic style of Schatten makes it very impactful. This production design gives German movies of this period their own fingerprint and the shadow play of the traveling artist looks like it relates to the works of Lotte Reiniger, one of the first animators ever. There’s even a small hint of Mystery Science Theater 3000 somewhere in here.

Contentwise, Schatten can be considered a modern movie. Men become violent against a woman out of sheer entitlement and paranoia. The husband loses himself in his delusions and power fantasies. He enjoys hurting the woman he feels betrayed by, although she did nothing wrong. This exact kind of entitlement is still apparent in toxic culture surrounding men. The framing of the movie makes it clear to the audience, that his behavior is extremely destructive and short-sighted.