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Gesamtkunstwerk: The Artwork or the Cave of the Future
In the 1800s, the Industrial Revolution was forever changing the way that people related to society and to themselves. While mass-produced mechanically manufactured goods led to the growth of productivity and economic increase in Europe, with it came the mass exploitation of human beings as commodities themselves, robbing life of meaning for many people and devalued artistic expression. Out of the smoke of this mechanized revolution arose reactionary romantic movements among artists, novelists, craftsmen, and many other people, resisting the influence of unrestrained industry. At the same time in history something else emerged - a vision large enough to synthesize and unite all of the others: the idea of the "Total Work of Art" or Gesamtkunstwerk as envisioned by Richard Wagner. In this essay, I will be arguing that while the other romantic movements of the age gradually faded, Wagner's vision of gesamtkunstwerk has been given new life in the modern movie franchise, and has become so powerful that it is now in danger of becoming a new Plato's Cave.
Gesamtkunstwerk, Film, Cinema, Wagner, der ring des nibelungen, romanticism
Motion Picture Arts