From Caligari to Hitler

Named after the landmark 1947 book by film theorist Siegfried Kracauer, this engaging documentary by critic Rüdiger Suschland considers German cinema between the world wars, building on Kracauer’s notion that movies reflect a nation’s collective subconscious and arguing that the monsters and criminal masterminds of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and the Dr. Mabuse films reveal the latent fascination of everyday Germans with fascist power. The documentary’s political observations may be dark, but Suschland’s analysis of the films in question (which range from established classics to lesser-known titles) conveys a sense of wonder at the enduring power of movie magic. In English and subtitled German.