Thursday, 29 October 2009

Metropolis 'Fritz Lang'

So...a great classic in my view, studied it in film a few years back, well sections of it, but nevertheless still a fantastic film, the daddy of all Sci-Fi, and where most notions of the genre derive from..

Although again this is a silent piece, it makes good use of background noises, as well as highly dramatic music, that comes across as quite theatrical....which helps keep consistency, as well as expressing how characters feel across their actions.

The beginning sequence carries a surreal element, with the high use of montages of machinery, reflecting the social economics of how the workers are similar to the monotonous machine repeating day to day tasks, the embodiment of the workers conveyed as a living machine, with working, living parts, as well as the exit and entrance reflecting the non stop working that a machine consists comparison to the biological utopia above, with Athenian like males...with the eternal gardens for example, which seems heavenly in comparisons to the underworld of the workers.

Fritz lang's backdrops uses very angular as well as rectangular architectural structures, perhaps influenced by art noveau, which over tower the human race, conveying the sense of a metropolis if you the same time, he portrays the sense of a futuristic landscape in a harmonizes realistically in a sense, for example, the video call to Grot, which in that day would have seemed absurd, to the time era the film was created in, in another instance it has a lack of imagination in comparison to today’s society, where we would in vision a future that far surpasses that of Fritz Lang's....

Along with this Fritz land uses similar concepts to Robert Wiene, such as the main focal circular point on the characters, but perhaps this was a common notion used within German expression at the time. Fritz lang uses an incredible amount of cg, which for it's time was spectacular, and even from my point of view, incredible believable and contemporary, for instance he's angular still shots, when the workers are moving in a body of mass up and down the angular road, the lack of panning in his work, which could have been due to technology issues, but still comes across as quite stylistic. as the use of overlaying, blending of two forms, for instance the transformation of the Evil Maria, or even the when Freder tries it has at 'working', and the dial blends to a clock. Along with this, Fritz uses consistent montages, as well as a vivid use of lighting, even creating suspense such as the classic chase scene between Rotwang and Maria in the catacombs...

As well as using definitive technological advances in his work, Fritz also makes use a outstanding metaphors in his work through this use of these, for example when the heart machine goes out of control, and Freder see's this, and in visions a sacrificial mechanical monster consuming the lives of the workers, as well as the tower of Babel scene (bearing a strong connection to Joh Fredersen's Metropolis) where there is a blurred light around the edge of the film, conveying a dream-like sequence, which allows us to disconnect away from the main storyline, but along with this, to portray themes and notions within his work, he created to what seems like now very generic, conventional characters, such as Maria, who comes across as a very strong individual, which at the time of production, seems quite hypocritical since they were repressed by men, as seen more as objects...but still she is represented to us as a very symbolic, holy figure, for instance at the alter in the catacombs, where she seems similar to the divine Virgin Mary, (and the noted bible references, such as Babylon, the mother of all abomination) especially with the backlight and crosses...which is completely opposite when Robot Maira arrives on the scene, perhaps idolising how woman should be perceived in society, as very sexual, provocative obedient objects at the will of men, although this is contradicted when men start to fight over her, which could lead to the notion that woman are the sinful, and to be kept in line...

Along with the filmic character notions portrayed in this film, it's funny to a sort of role-reversal in this film, as Freder seems very feminine, emotional character, in conjunction the Maria, who seems to be the strong willed one, though both are disconnected from most of the characters by there clothing, to stand out perhaps, thought their clothing seems lighter then rest of the cast, suggesting that they are both the hero's of the comparison to this are both Joh Fredersen, and Rowang, who are the antagonists of the story, Joh conveying the whole, monopolising, totalitarianism regime, perhaps reflecting the views of the social context in the time period, in contrast to the crazy scientist, who possible became the original filmic notion that has been using a thousand times older..

The ending however, seemed to be very reminiscent, but to me unsatisfying, although it carries all the traits seen in todays modern films, such as the classic fight scene, to which the hero gets the girl, the semi-bad character comes to realize he's mad a huge mistake, and everyone makes up at the end, to me it seemed to end very abruptly on the handshake between 'Head and Hands, although there was complete closure, leaving
the audience with the metaphorical message 'Head and Hands Join Together Through Heart'

All in all, this film is an excellent view of how cinema today has progressed and develop through narrative, conventions, and special effects, and is a must see to anyone who wants to re-align there skills as an the beginning...


  1. Another nice critique, though isn't Metropolis an example of Art Deco as opposed to Nouveau?

  2. ahhhh noooo... I always get confused between the two!! might have to research them properly lol thanks for the heads up