Aside from the lengthiness of the film, I had gotten a lot more enjoyment out of this 1920s silent film than expected. It does convey an important message that could be relevant in situations of today: “the mediator between head and hand must be the heart.” The movie also portrays the 7 deadly sins through the character of the robot woman, who lures in the male workers like a steak luring in a pack of hungry dogs. This belly dancing scene sticks out to me because the camera techniques relates to the class and because of the symbolism of lust.
The first thing I had noticed was that the scene uses accelerated montage, which creates the illusion of a speeding up in the film. Shots of Freder, the preacher-looking man, the robot, and the workers progressively become shorter and shorter. This example of accelerated montage also doubles as a montage of attraction, as pointed out by Ms. Darlington, because the increasing hastiness of the cuts exemplifies a sense of tension among the characters that has a suspenseful effect on the audience.
The scene also seems suspenseful because all these hard workers, who at first seem to be good-hearted people, are suddenly giving in to this one evil woman’s desires. The risqué clothing, intense stare, and hip-shaking all signify the deadly sin of lust, in which people have a strong, unhealthy desire, which in this case is the workers’ desire for the fake woman. With each dance move the men move closer and closer to the woman, growing evermore entranced as shown in their unnatural movements and in the montage of a thousand eyes watching the woman. Their lust will never be satisfied, however, because the woman is not even real but a robot.