Public psyche theory was proposed by Siegfried Kracauer in his book, from Caligari to Hitler (Kracauer 1947). Kracauer suggested that film was an expression of the psyche of the society it came from, and that the themes and ideas expressed in these films were a product of the fears, beliefs and ideals of these societies. He proposed that as film was such a collaborative effort involving many different people, and by looking at these films worked as a predictor of where the society would go in the future.
He pointed to the films of the German expressionist movement in the 1920s as a predictor of the rise of fascism in Germany that took place in the years preceding World War II. He suggested that German expressionist films like The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Wiene 1920) and Metropolis (Lang 1927) illuminated an aspect of the German psyche that demonstrated German people were ready to accept the fascist government of the Nazi party in the 1930s.Read more