Metropolis is another form of supporting evidence for Andre Bazin’s thesis in The Evolution of the Language of Cinema. Bazin argues in favor or mise-en-scene, and denounced the use of montages in filmmaking. He also states that the earlier, silent movies used montages to tell the story, while later films starting in the late 1930s started using mise-en-scene. The film Metropolis would have been a perfect piece of evidence for Bazin to use to prove his observation. It is a silent film from 1927, and is rife with montage, specifically parallel montage and the montage of attraction. In one scene in particular, where Maria is experimented on by the doctor Rotwang and used to create a robotic double, one can really notice the montage used, along with the vast spectacle created by director Fritz Lang.
The first piece of evidence that supports Bazin’s thesis is the parallel montage used when the scenes alternate between Maria struggling to escape from the clutches of Rotwang and Freder rushing into Rotwang’s lab to try and save Maria. Lang uses this montage here to build up the suspense leading to the intertwining of these two alternating scenes as Freder sees the robotic Maria in an embrace with his father, and becomes sick.
Another aspect of this scene that could contribute to Bazin’s idea is the spectacle created in this scene by the director. Lang uses vast sets, lighting, props, makeup, and special effects. After struggling with Rotwang, Maria is bound to a table with various scientific looking tools all around her. This is followed by electricity and explosions as the robot transforms into a human. This vast use of plastics is another aspect of montage that Bazin did not favor.
This film is a spectacle, and is meant to intrigue the audience with its themes and symbolism. It uses montage much more than miss-en-scene, and is a prime example of what Andre Bazin writes about in The Evolution of the Language of Cinema.