Sunday, 25 October 2015

Film Review - Metropolis

The science-fiction epic Metropolis (1927) was directed by the German film-maker Fritz Lang and was the last film of the silent era. Lang was one of the most innovative directors in movie history because of his artistic vision. He influenced generations of film-makers.

"A futuristic, visually compelling allefogical look at relations between capital and labor in a Big Brother society ruled by robots, antagonism and fear. An impressice monument to Lang's artictic vision." Ephraim Katz, The Macmillan International Film Encyclopedia, 1998.
As Katz says Metropolis, a film full of tricks, predicts a city of the future in which the scientific progress and the human despair are the keys for an ideological class conflict.

The film tells the story of a system that controls the population. The city's ruler is Joh Fredersen who is a businessman. His son Freder, falls in love with Maria, a woman who lives in the subterranean city. He decides to look after her but he discovers that the underclass workers are working as slaves. Freder thinks that it's not fair how 'his brothers' are living in primitive conditions to just support a small ruling elite living in skyscrapers, and he attempts to help the workers.

Maria is the revolutionary good-hearted woman who defends the workers rights. She predicts that a mediator, who is a person who can find a middle way between the head and the heart (the boss and the workers), is coming to mediate their differences. This Mediator is Freder.

Then, Rotwang, following Freder father's orders, captures Maria and transfers her face to a robot. Maria is replaced with a "false Maria", a violence-inciting robot who looks like a human being. The workers still follow Maria but now they can be controlled. This sequence is the most important one.

So now, there are two Marias: the good one and the evil one (Rotwang's robot). The evil Maria starts a revolution whose purpose is to destroy everything. As the evil Maria looks like a human being, everybody follow her ideas. Then, machines are broken and all the subterranean city is going to be flooded. Maria and Freder save all the kids and the false Maria is discovered and burned.

The film finishes with a sequence in which Freder acts as the Mediator between the workers (the hands) and his father (the brain).

One of the reasons why this film is so important is because of the thematic concept: it deals with modern issues that have never gone away, workers controlled like hands in a future city. Some other reasons are that Metropolis' spectacular sets and special effects create two worlds: the great city of Metropolis with skyscrapers and highways, and the subterranean city where the workers live and work. The dramatic camera angles were also important. 

The result of this thematic, special effects, spectacular sets and the camera angles, make this film one of those films without which the other cannot be fully appreciated.

The moral of this movie is that the brain and the hands fail if the heart (love) doesn't work with them.


Images bibliography

No comments:

Post a Comment