German Expressionism was a cinematic movement during the 1920s that sought to portray the emotional landscapes of dark human experiences inspired by their recent involvement in World War one. Films in this movement abstracted reality to express a subjective viewpoint, ultimately eliciting extreme emotional responses rather than representing reality.
Sets were entirely artificial and indoor, with emphasis on mood rather than accuracy. Sharp angles, shapes and stark contrasts emphasized by a chiaroscuro style of lighting and extreme camera angles further manipulated reality to evoke anxiety and alienation. Finally, the acting and make-up were exaggerated in order to represent an inner reality.
German Expressionism became popular as a film style and went on to influence cinema on a global scale, most notably in horror and film noir.