Week 2 Blog Post

The scene that really caught my eyes was when Freder first discovered the Heart Machine and sees the sight of all the workers toil at the machinery relentlessly without break.

Here the workmen put in all their effort into keeping the machinery alive, “feeding” them their labor. The rhythm of their movements keeps itself in sync to the beat of the accompanying music. Almost like clockwork. The matching of movement and music itself makes feelings of tension arise. It greatly does so by intensifying the pace of the music, thus placing the workers into a hyper mode of work.

The scene is first shot as a long shot frame that shows the entirety of the Heart Machine and the workers that toil at its body. It then alternates between different portions of the machine and the workers tending to the parts. Similar to an accelerated montage that quickly transitions to the eventual explosion that occurs in front of Freder.

The aftermath of the explosion includes majority of the workers scalded by the searing steam/flames released from the machine. I believe this enforces my own thought that the workers city is symbolic of hell: an underground area where men toil relentlessly and are burned by the flames. In Freder’s eyes, the machine becomes akin to a demon that eats away at the workers.

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4 thoughts on “Week 2 Blog Post

  1. I agree with you that this is a very important scene. This scene is what pops the bubble that Freder had been living in his whole life prior to that point. It shows him the wretched conditions that the workers work in, work that is likely for no reward and has no positive effect on the workers’ lives whatsoever. Freder finally sees that other people toil just to keep him on his pedestal, unaware of everything going on beneath the surface. This is what motivates Freder to ignite the action of the rest of the film — to save the workers from their plight and work for equality.

  2. I agree that the scene where Freder sees the workers for the first time is one of the most important scenes in the movie. His dramatic facial expressions show how he feels about what his father is doing to these workers. It was impressive to see how in sync the actors were when acting out their jobs. It gives the audience a feeling of empathy for the workers which helps later on when they decide to rebel. It’s very interesting how you look at the factory as a symbol of hell. I had not thought about it that way, but you’re right. The workers feel that they cannot escape and have to answer to someone evil. When the explosion occurs underground, it is not hard to draw a parallel to this being a satanic place. The fact that the parents do not really care much about the safety of their children is arguably demonic as well.

  3. I totally agree that the workers in this scene seem to be working almost like clockwork. I think that this is represents the hellish and inhuman way the people here are treated, and I think that the synchronization of the workers like clockwork is similar to later in the film when Freder is working himself, and the director overlays a giant clock on the shot of Freder struggling with exhaustion while working on his machine. I think that this motif of “clockwork” shows the precariousness of the factory and how everything must be run perfectly in order to keep the machines from self-destructing. I also think that this scene foreshadows the end of the movie when the workers revolt and destroy the machines, once again showing the precarious situation, and also the volatility of the machines, as it causes a flood of the underground city.

  4. Many people seemed to pick this scene as the one that struck them the most. This scene was one of the first and was also introduced an important part of the movie, as the seeming “Hell” that was working with the machine and Freder sticking out like a sore thumb in his clean white clothes. The exaggerated clutch of his shirt and his position below the machine established the superiority of the machine and also the inferiority of Freder and the people working for it. What seemed to be the most important was that there was a change in the machine, from a simple chunk of metal to a temple that were for sacrifices. The workers marched into the mouth much like the marched to their shift, bound, beaten and tired. When Freder took over the work for one of the people, he could barely take ten hours and asked when this shift would end. The agony of becoming, working with the machine was terrible in retrospect to the time. The people on the surface are indulging in their wealth while the “hands” are working everyday to make ends meet. The unfairness of this “Metropolis” could hardly go unnoticed. The movie was so symbolic and complicated that it took me thinking over and over again of the allusions in the story.

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