The Contemporary Dopplegänger
Lost Highway
Donato Totaro~Offscreen
The doppelgänger is present at every level in film: thematically, formally, technologically, and theoretically. It cuts across nations and genres. The term, being of German origin, was first used critically to define an important aspect of German art, beginning with Romanticism, Expressionism and, of course, the classic period of German Expressionist cinema (1919-1930). Many of the great Expressionist films deal formally and thematically with the doppelgänger, through such themes as the whore/madonna complex (the two Maria's in Metropolis), split personages (Der Januskopf), character degeneration (The Blue Angel), immortality (Faust) and visual tropes such as chiaroscuro lighting (light/dark) and mirror imagery.
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