Week 2 Response to Metropolis

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. 


3 thoughts on “Week 2 Response to Metropolis

  1. I also really appreciated the message: “the mediator between the head and hand must be the heart.” I thought it was great how they tied in so much symbolism and so many great messages into the film. When you referred to the evil Maria as a “fake woman,” it made me think about how symbolic that is as well. I think it portrays the attraction that men immediately have to women who possess such controlling and physically enchanting characteristics quite well. It is amazing that a message such as this one can still be applied to modern society even though the film was made so long ago. I also liked what you said about the “lust never being able to be satisfied.” I think that’s also very true and very interesting because it is the robot that they were attracted to and all goo-goo-eyed over. Freder was the only one that saw her the way they did before she was turned into the evil robot. It showed how society so commonly reacts to a woman of such behavior and physical appearance.

  2. I agree with the importance of the idea of “the mediator between the head and hand must be the heart”; it is a concept that we can all identify with, and an ideal that we all at some point have struggled to uphold.

    Also, I find the film’s portrayals of the 7 deadly sins and the reality of lust to be incredibly profound and surprisingly avante-garde, especially considering the black-and-white/silent-film framework that actually served to heighten the tone rather than suppress it. Ultimately, the scene described by the above blogger is very effective in its allegorical story-telling and commentary on the role of the lust-instigating, “evil” version of Maria. The visual effects of the dancing scene, which indeed showcased “unnatural”, jerky, yet strangely risque movements, also serve to illuminate this side of her. The condemning of lust is very blatant.

    I also find it interesting that Freder was the only man able to appreciate the full character of Maria, as he had witnessed and experienced her more caring, chaste side, despite even the fact that her clone completely tarnished that image, inciting the lust and wrath of Metropolis’ male population. It truly brings into perspective how one woman can embody two completely different ideals, simply by the way she holds herself and the resulting aura she radiates.

  3. Good observations about montage, Kaehla. It’s particularly interesting that the montage of attraction in this case is actually used to illustrate the dangers of unhealthy attraction.

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