Tuesday, 29 September 2015

SPACE ODDITIES: Metropolis (1927)

Fig.1. 'Metropolis' poster

Fritz Lang's, Metropolis (1927) an early, yet highly influential german science fiction movie that created an overwhelming sense of scale and intensity through the use of highly stylised visuals and a distopian landscape that had audiences in awe of what the future could have been.

This review will look at the way in which visionary director Fritz Lang, created a film of such magnitude through the use of narrative, set design and sound, that it captured the hearts of directors and movie-goers for years to come.
Not only has it influence movies, but it has had an impact on pop culture as a whole. 
'Metropolis has also been a major influence in pop, with Kraftwerk and Madonna overtly rifling its imagery and oddball soulster Janelle Monae even now kitting up in Langian robo-chic' (Romney, 2010) This is because of it's strong use of art decor and inspiring visions of the future that is such an influence within modern society.

Fig.2. Metropolis film still
Throughout the beginning of the film Lang welcomes audiences with scenes of machinery and structures that loom across the screen. The sheer scale of the set design is a key factor in which this movie stands out. 
'Metropolis employed vast sets, 25,000 extras and astonishing special effects to create two worlds: the great city of metropolis, with its stadiums, skyscrapers and expressways in the sky, and the subterranean workers' city, where the clock face shows 10 hours to cram another day into the work week' (Ebert, 1998) 
Scenes which involve machinery exploit an underclass of society, shunned away from the bright lights and thriving city that is, Metropolis.
This overlooked underbelly of the city is seen as the engine that keeps everything working, clockwork machines that are in sync to the grand soundtrack, giving the workers a robotic look, something that is key within the story.
'Frederden's city is designed to malnourish its inhabitants. The workers' city is strictly utilitarian, its streets completely deserted with no signs of life save for when the grunts trudge home from work.' (Abrams, 2010)
Fredersern, the owner and hierarchy of Metropolis, acts in a powerful manner.  A man that looks down on his city, at its beauty, little be known to him that his city is nothing without the people, the people that are hidden away within the cities underground, almost blending in to the machines mechanical movements. 

Fig.3. Mary transformation
Mary, a main character throughout, a woman of passion and calm, then manipulated and manufactured to become the protagonist a provocative figure of the future.
Seen as an early look at artificial intelligence, it seems that Lang was looking at the anxieties of the real world of 1927. Fast paced scenes of the workers taking a stand, brainwashed by the crazed, Maria.

Fritz Lang's 'Metropolis' is an immersive roller coaster ride of both sound and picture collaborating to create scenes of devastation that depict visions of things to come, or what is conjured up in the minds of anxious yet intrigued citizens of 1927.


Abrams, S (2010) Metropolis At: http://www.slantmagazine.com/film/review/metropolis Accessed on: 29/09/2015

Ebert, R (1998) Metropolis At: http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/great-movie-metropolis-1927 Accesed on: 29/09/2015

Romney, J (2010) Metropolis At: http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/reviews/metropolis-fritz-lang-145-mins-pg-5851451.html Accessed on: 29/09/2015


Figure.1 Metropolis [Poster] At:https://www.1stdibs.com/furniture/wall-decorations/posters/rare-second-edition-poster-fritz-langs-film-metropolis/id-f_820111/ Accessed on: 29/09/2015

Figure. 2 [Film Still] At:http://www.filmeducation.org/metropolis/images/stills/Metropolis_large_still_9.jpg Accessed on: 29/09/2015

Figure.3 [Film Still] At:http://www.cinemagraphe.com/_movies/metropolis-1927/bridgitte-helm-metropolis-1927-6.jpg Accessed on: 29/09/2015

1 comment:

  1. Interesting and concise review Thomas, well done. :)