Discussion/Study Questions for “Cabaret”

Discussion/Study Questions for “Cabaret”
What does the title refer to in the film in both literal and thematic terms?
How does the film start and how is it shot? What’s the opening musical number? What is it intercut with?
How does the film end? How does the ending contrast visually with the opening?
When and where does the story take place?
Who are the protagonists of the film?
What is Sally Bowles’ external problem? Internal need?
What is Brian Roberts’ external problem? Internal need?
Make-up for Sally Bowles, the Master of Ceremonies and other cabaret performers is very heavy and mask or doll-like. Why do you think the filmmakers made that choice? What does it tell you about the characters? How does it lead to the deeper thematic levels of the film?
The set décor features a number of political posters and German Expressionist paintings. Why did the director and production designer feature these items? What do they do for the film?
Choreography and staging are key in “Cabaret.” The Master of Ceremonies, played by Joel Grey, exaggerates his almost marionette-style of movement especially at the film’s end. What does this do for the deeper levels of meaning in the film?
Discuss the cross-cutting between the song the M.C. sings about his fiancée, portrayed as a gorilla, and the love story in the subplot between Natasha and Fritz. Why is this song juxtaposed to their love story?
Discuss the cross-cutting between the Bavarian folk dance in the Kit Kat Club and the beating the club manager receives at the hands of the Nazis. What does cutting back and forth between these two scenes do for each?
Discuss the use of diegetic and non-diegetic music in “Cabaret.”