As the most representative form of art in the 20th Century, film was first included in UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register in 2001, and it was Fritz Lang’s Metropolis that was chosen. Born in 1890 in Vienna, Fritz Lang switched from civil engineering to art in university. He had visited Africa and Asia, and then studied painting in Paris. After retiring from the First World War due to injuries, he joined the studio of famous producer Erich Pommer as a screenwriter. In 1919, he began directing. Expressionist visual style dominated his works in the 1920s, including the profoundly influential sci-fi film Metropolis, Dr. Mabuse The Gambler, Part I & Part II, The Nibelungen, Part I & Part II. The sound film M shot in 1931 was another of his masterpieces. After The Testament of Dr. Mabuse was banned by the Nazi Germany, he left his country and made 23 films in Hollywood, most of which were film noir, such as The Big Heat and Human Desire. In 1976, a few months before he passed away, Fritz Lang received the Life Career Award from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films.
Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau
Gaining world fame for his film Nosferatu, F.W. Murnau was one of the earliest directors who made an international fame. In as early as the 1920s, he was invited to work in Hollywood and was one of the first overseas talents in the American kingdom of film. Sunrise, the first film he made in the USA, was the first Oscar best picture; whereas Tabu was another legendary work which became his swan song after he died young. Murnau was born in 1888 in Bielefeld, Germany. In his youth, Murnau had already shown interest in drama and literature. He studied art history and literature in university, where he was recruited as theatre actor. In 1919, Murnau established his own studio and shot his first picture, The Boy in Blue. The majority of his early films were chamber-dramas adapted from literary works. Successfully combining Expressionist images and horror story, Nosferatu had great influence on the horror movies of later ages. His other famous films include The Last Laugh, which was almost intertitle-free, and the mega production Faust.
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