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NosferatuA Symphony of Horror$
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Cristina Massaccesi

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780993238451

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9780993238451.001.0001

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Signs and Meanings

Signs and Meanings

(p.83) Chapter 4 – Signs and Meanings

Cristina Massaccesi

Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines Nosferatu's (1922) style and form. In order to analyse a film thoroughly, one should always take into account the elements that constitute a film's grammar and syntax: mise-en-scène, camerawork, editing, and sound, although normally discussed separately, must be thought of as interconnected and inter-dependent. The mise-en-scène is constituted by a large number of different elements that can be roughly divided in pre-cinematic features (such as sets, costumes, light, etc.) and cinematographic elements (camera angles, distance, focus and so on). Despite having been produced in the early 1920s, Nosferatu, especially when watched in its original cut and with its tints and tones restored, is still an incredibly remarkable and powerful film. Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau's eye for complex and layered mise-en-scène and his rhythmical sense of editing confer to the film a compelling visual quality and a narrative that is both engaging and creepily uncanny. The chapter then looks at the most influential and interesting interpretations that have been attached to the film since its release.

Keywords:   Nosferatu, mise-en-scène, camerawork, editing, sound, pre-cinematic features, cinematographic elements, Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau

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