Metropolis (1927)

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There can be no understanding between the hand and the brain unless the heart acts as mediator.

The German director Fritz Lang and his wife Thea Von Harbou  directed this silent science fiction film about a futuristic dystopian world. I recently graduated from my masters in film and this particular piece of cinema brings back memories of sitting in Film and Modernity classes with some of my course friends watching and discussing this film among others.

The basic outline of the plot is this: A rich dude Joh Frederson (Alfred Abel) rules the city of Metropolis with its high rising buildings whilst the working class dwell underground to fuel the machines. Frederson’s son Freder (Gustav Frolich) is a bit of a playboy and likes to frolic in the pleasure gardens with prostitutes. On this particular day a young woman named Maria (Brigitte Helm) brings some of the poor children to the gardens for them to witness how the rich people live their lives. They are ushered away but Freder is fascinated by Maria and goes to the underground factory.

What follows is a mad scientist Rotwang (Rudolf Klein-Rogge), a robot , a slutty version of the pure and innocent Maria and lots of distorted imagery and a freaky soundtrack.  You will have to watch the film for yourselves to understand what happens and how it all ends.

Overall, I am impressed with Lang’s cinema and how he endeavoured to capture a futuristic world at a time when cinema was only in its infancy and made a mark for itself as a pioneer for science fiction cinema.

However, I feel that I have been taught to over analyse this film too much and all the relevant themes in relation to modernity and thus I have not watched this film properly since June. However, it is very amusing how the lines of commuters and travellers on the London Underground trains resemble that of the lines of workers going underground to the factory  in one particular sequence of this film.

My rating: 3/5


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