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Critics reviews
Nosferatu
F.W. Murnau Germany, 1922
A singular example of plein-air cinema, achieving many eerie effects through the evocative use of location as well as camera placement.
May 18, 2020
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The quality of mobile architecture is what Éric Rohmer set out to grasp in his 1972 doctoral thesis devoted to ‘The Organisation of Space in Murnau’s Faust.’ But when we take another look at the classic Nosferatu (1922) today, what we are more likely to notice is the further elaboration the German director added through his mastery of editing—and his virtual invention of what critic-teacher-filmmaker Jean-André Fieschi (1942-2009) dubbed ‘poetic montage.’
November 07, 2016
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…Orlok’s shadow, though visible on the outside of Ellen’s clothing, is apparently both present and substantial under her skin, and has taken hold of her heart. We have to conceive of the phantom limb being both solid enough to grasp the organ, and yet intangible enough to easily penetrate solid flesh, like a ghost passing through a wall. Nothing like this had ever been shown in a film, and not a word of explanation is given. But we understand.
October 31, 2016
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Nosferatu on the whole has the timbre of a technical study of the filmmaking process, utilizing all manner of shots, color tints, and perspectives. This experimentation with the basic components of early film yields a bleak, venomous, and deeply eerie nightmare vision of unknowable power.
January 31, 2014
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The initial 30 minutes prior to Orlok’s first appearance are slow going indeed—it’s clunky, plot-heavy, and devoid of atmosphere… Orlok’s transformation into Nosferatu mostly involves removing the hat and adding some talons and fangs, plus extra height and odd movements, but it’s the stuff of nightmares all the same. He’s a thousand times freakier than any other screen Dracula
November 13, 2013
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Murnau is a director who (like all good directors) paints with light, and in doing so he also uses the shadowy negative spaces to evoke an atmosphere of encroaching, murderous terror.
October 24, 2013
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NOSFERATU is a vampire story of startling realism. This is no fantasy, nor is it a lush period piece. This is mania, creeping fear, disease, and plague. Perhaps no film better illustrates the difference between dreams, which inhabit the margins of our world, and fantasies, which we each manufacture.
August 17, 2012
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Nosferatu strikes primarily through the unrestrained potency of its now-iconic imagery, the result of a filmmaker who recognized the singularly visual nature of his medium and used it to the fullest extent.
November 27, 2007
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Whereas Stoker’s vampire is killed by a stake, Nosferatu introduced the device of the vampire who is destroyed by the sun’s rays and where Stoker’s vampire casts no shadow, Murnau’s does throughout to great dramatic effect. At the climax of the film, the shadow of the vampire’s hand grasps at Mina’s heart and she arches in pain. Murnau may have broken the laws of vampires, but he has obeyed the laws of the cinema.
July 18, 2000
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The key elements are all Murnau’s own: the eerie intrusions of expressionist style on natural settings, the strong sexual subtext, and the daring use of fast-motion and negative photography.
January 01, 1975
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