What artistic movement does “Euphoria” imitate?

German Expressionism is still strong today.

Euphoria is one of the most talked about TV shows. Everyone seems to be discussing what’s going on in front and behind the scenes. While rumors and ideas swirl, one thing is undeniable and that is that the series has a strong leaning towards classic cinema. Much of its visuals and cinematography draw directly from German Expressionism.

Watch this Thomas Flight video, and let’s talk about it later.

What is the art movement Euphoria Facial expressions?

For those unaware, German Expressionism is a movement that uses distorted settings, contrasts of light and dark, expressionistic play, and other devices to evoke moods through visuals. It was used as social criticism or commentary on the emotional state of Germany at the time.

And now it seems to be tapping into the emotional state of American teenagers.

It’s hard to think of a show that wastes time, space and visuals in order to show a character’s mental state more than Euphoria. While some of the visuals look like black neon, it’s actually a spectacle that thrives on stunning lighting and color shifts that harness expressionism like classic blacks did.

You can call it stylized or surreal, but the language here obviously refers to a past cinematic movement. The show is about people who are out of balance, either due to drugs, emotions, circumstances, or even a play they are watching that depicts their life.

‘Euphoria’Credit: HBO

To support this, we’ve seen montages, stills, and cinematography that hark back to other eras but reimagine black and white with pops of color to make things feel more current and, at times, vivid. I think it also makes a show like this accessible to people who have no idea what director and creator Sam Levinson is impersonating, but understand that the way the show spins things makes them feel some way.

Hopefully it sparks curiosity and draws people into film history, or at the very least gets them interested in film theory.

What is your opinion on all of this? Let us know in the comments.

Christopher S. Washington