Metropolis Analysis

Metropolis was an experience that I definitely enjoyed. The movie was unique; introducing new aspects of film making to me. The costume, acting, and mannerisms were so different, I could not help but be surprised by them.

The one scene that got me thinking was actually a shot: the shot of the future world that is Metropolis. The shot displayed cars moving across roads in the sky, climbing from building to building. There were also planes that flew between buildings. I deeply analyzed this shot, as this was when I realized that it was a science fiction film set in the nineteen twenties. What was interesting was that the cars were the same as in the old days, and so were the planes. Modern cars and planes like we have today were not pictured in the shot of Metropolis. The most change was that the buildings were instead huge, fancy, with a ton of lights. The cars and planes moved with freedom, un-restricted by gravity. Science fiction today also depicts a lot of technological advances that refer to being more free, versus being limited by resources.

The shot of the “depths” of Metropolis was instead dark. The costume was dull. There were no planes, and no cars. A few panels in the ceiling of the city let in some light. The people walked, unable to reach any state of freedom. This city would represent a place where technology has not graced its presence, and a place where there are no resources to lift the limitations of the earth.

In some way, there is alway symbolism in films. Once you get to analyzing the different aspects of the film, you begin to realize that there is much more depth to it than you would have imagined. I was unaware that films would be so sophisticated almost a hundred years ago. Even though it lacked sound, the quality of the film was by far more impressive than some of the movies made today. I definitely look forward to watching and learning more about films.

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4 thoughts on “Metropolis Analysis

  1. It is very interesting that not only did films contain such complex symbolism almost one-hundred years ago, but this same form of symbolism is still present to this day. Movies where the wealthy and more influential character falls in love with someone of a lesser social status. Some specific examples I can recall are Romeo and Juliet and Pocahontas. Also, the idea of a veil of concealment that the government places over our eyes is another common focus of our generation of film. Even the theme of the importance of the power of the people in present in this film and that is still very popular today.

  2. You bring up a really interesting point when contrasting the two different settings of the film, and not only is there a lack of technology and freedom in the “depths”, but the physical location of the two settings is also striking. The “depths” are actually underground. It is an underground city, where people work ten hours a day. This is a comparison to hell. In fact, when Josaphat is faced with the possibility of being sent to the “depths”, he attempts to kill himself. Then, if you look at the rest of the city of Metropolis, a stark contrast is easily noticed. The cars and planes fly high and the buildings stretch into the clouds. Sounds a lot like heaven doesn’t it? On top of that, at the beginning of the movie, Freder is relaxing in a garden that almost reminded me of The Garden of Eden, or a paradise. This film is rife with biblical allusion, especially with the contrast of the “depths” and the city Metropolis.

  3. The idea of social division in Metropolis is certainly one of its major themes as you stated through the clear distinction between the settings of the working class underground and elite society that resides in metropolis. These settings truly serve to further this notion of social discrimination.
    Although the setting is one of the clearer and more noticeable ways in which Lang conveys this theme, it is certainly not his only method. Although hard to identify, the director uses a small yet brilliant technique in the beginning of the film to demonstrate this social idea. Upon introducing the audience to the working class, Lang goes on to add a bit of dialogue to further describe the poor working class. It is through this dialogue that Lang shows his cleverness as he introduces the words descending from the top to the bottom of the screen similarly to how the workers descend to the depths of the factory. Immediately after, words appear in the reverse manner by ascending to the top of the screen to describe and introduce the upper elite society. Although a small detail, it goes a long way in understanding the ultimate detail and effort that Fritz Lang used throughout his film.

  4. I like your comparison between the high and lower social classes. It serves the purpose that even though the future may be filled with huge buildings, flashy clothing, various lights, and a better use of resources, or at least more freedom from them, there is still the never ending distinction between those of the rich and poor classes. The details you brought up about how even though the film is in the future yet still has old looking vehicles does hold back fro the futuristic feel. However, the use of heavy make up and drastic movement makes up for this and for the absence of sound. With that being said, every film does have some symbolism associated with it and Metropolis definitely heavy on symbolism. From the levers to the heavy machinery and human analogy there was a lot of symbolism that I also did not notice at first but only after I read more about the film and other blog post.

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