Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Metropolis (1927)

Metropolis (1927) directed by Fritz Lang is a silent German Drama and Sci-Fi film which shows Lang's "perfectionism, his fondness for German Expressionism, and his intensely bizarre creative vision" which gives the film and the city its perfected yet dark look.

Figure  1 - Metropolis Poster

The films opening scene shows the audience a range of industrial machines and the workers who manage the machines, the film then goes on to explain in subtitles that deep below lies the workers city immediately telling the audience of the class separation is physically and socially within the city. The film then takes us to a different shot of the city, one of a beautiful garden with high class people wearing luxurious clothes again showing the difference and separation of the class as the working class wear dark, dirty overalls. The film progresses into telling the audience the hardship behind the creation of metropolis and the luxury of those who enjoy the finished products, the film continues to develop to show how the separation of the classes was a vital problem which needs to be solved in order for there to be fairness within metropolis. The film concludes to show the trickery within the film and the promise of equality between the upper and the working class.

Delving deeper into the films actions, from the movement of the actors it can be inferred that the film is showing the message of totalitarianism as each of the workers move in the same way as if they were being controlled and were following the same commands. The feel of rapid industrialisation in Metropolis is clear, as the film was created in Germany, during this time the country experienced a massive economical and industrial boost, for example more factories were being built but at the cost of the workers. 

 Figure 2 - Shot of the city
Those who have knowledge of Weimar Germany may infer the influence of the historical events within Weimar Germany, The Spartacist Uprising for example, an event which can be seen clearly to have influenced Metropolis, following the war many strikes took place because many workers wanted reduced hours, better working conditions and to "establish soviets (workers’ and soldiers’ councils) in place of central government in German towns and cities". This event can easily be translatable to the one shown in metropolis in which all the workers revolt and cause destruction to the city similar to that of the Spartacist Uprisings and various other historical events which took place within the time frame of which this film was in production.

Lastly it is extremely clear for modern day audiences how Metropolis has been an influential film in the industry, it "helped to develop the science-fiction genre" which can be seen from the scenes where the man-like robot is revealed to Joh and when the inventor begins to make the robot look more human. In todays films we establish that this film has influenced the likes of the Star Wars character C3PO and the classic creature Frankenstein. It is arguable that Metropolis has clearly been an influential film throughout decades and has formed the Sci-Fi genre into what it is today.
Figure 3 - Joh meets Rotwang's man-like machine


April 5, 2011 - http://www.film.com/movies/whats-the-big-deal-metropolis-1927
- http://www.bbc.co.uk/education/guides/zh9p34j/revision/5
- http://www.filmsite.org/metr.html

Figure 1 - http://scifimoviefilms.com/unique-posters-metropolis-1927/
Figure 2 - http://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2009/jun/05/sigma-science-fiction-us-security
Figure 3 - http://www.chrismrogers.net/#/blog/4555515884/'Metropolis'/8971437

1 comment:

  1. Another interesting review Danni, all the better for the inclusion of the quotes :)

    Have another look at the referencing guide for details on how you need to apply the Harvard method - basically, you need the author's surname and the year of the quote, both in brackets directly after the quote, and then you need some more information in the bibliography and illustrations list. See here for a comprehensive guide on how to reference just about anything!