If you think today's profiteers are diabolical, blink again. It is the summer of 1914. As the world teeters on the brink of the Great War, a callow American painter, Francis Wyndham, arrives at a renowned European insane asylum, where he begins offering art therapy under the auspices of Alessandro Caligari—sinister psychiatrist, maniacal artist, alleged sorcerer. And determined to turn the impending cataclysm to his financial advantage, Dr. Caligari will—for a price—allow governments to parade their troops past his masterpiece: a painting so mesmerizing it can incite entire regiments to rush headlong into battle. The Asylum of Dr. Caligari is a timely tale that is by turns funny and erotic, tender and bayonet-sharp—but ultimately emerges as a love letter to that mysterious, indispensable thing called art.
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