The Films of F. W. Murnau
Born on December 28th, 1888, in Germany, Friedrich Wilhelm Plumpe (F.W. Murnau) studied art history at the University of Heidelberg before dedicating himself to filmmaking. Greatly influenced by the work of Max Reinhardt's theatre company, Murnau inherited the expressionistic use of high-contrast lighting from Reinhardt's work. Also highly influenced by his art history background, Murnau's work has direct references to Rembrandt's paintings and other masterworks of European art.
Murnau's ability to create an uncanny combination between camera movement, choreographed action, and then-unseen lighting techniques, makes him one of the archetypes of the "artist filmmaker."
More than pushing cinema into new aesthetic grounds with his revolutionary use of multiple exposure and warped lenses, Murnau will always be remembered as a director who further developed the relationship between the moving image and its subject matter.