Fig one - Poster
Metropolis is a Science-fiction expressionist film from 1927 and directed by Fritz Lang. The film is set in a futuristic urban dystopia and metropolis society is split up into two classes, the managers who live in nice big skyscrapers and the workers living underground. “The story tells of a great city whose two halves--the pampered citizens of the surface and the slaves of the depths.” (Roger Ebert, March 1998)
Metropolis was founded and built by Jon Fredersen but the main protagonist is Fredersen son Freder who lives a luxurious life with all the other sons of the managers.
The scene when Freder is in the eternal gardens he sees a young woman (Maria) who has a load of workers children to show the upper class what the working class is going through. Stunned and intrigued by the woman, Freder who was unknown and blind to what goes on in the working world goes down and sees what going on in his father’s city, searching for the woman. “The city leader’s son on an odyssey to the depths in pursuit of saintly workers’ advocates Maria.” (Peter Bradshaw. September 2010).
Lighting is used effectively in Metropolis, the scene when Maria is running away from Rotwang, he chases her with a spot light/torch and even though its just a light moving around her, she’s scared and shows this well in her acting.
“There can be no understanding between the hand and the brain unless the heart acts as mediator”. (Maria, Metropolis). The workers are the hands and Jon Fredersen being the brain, have no connection with each other until Freder goes into the depth to look for Maria and becomes the heart and connects them.
Freder’s character is a noble caring man who shows this when his father fires Josaphat and Josaphat doesn’t know what to do and decides to kill himself but just before he does Freder stops him and helps him out. Then at the head shows is heroic side by risking his life to save the children from drowning.
Make-up plays an important part in this film especially when Maria is pure and innocent she has little make-up to show purity but when her double is made from the robot her make-up is dark and gothic around her eyes to show evil and help the audience tell the difference between them both.
“Narrative logic takes a backseat to rampant expressionism”. (Nev Pierce, January 2003). The movement of the actors were in sync with the music beat. Also the way the actors move and run was very theatrical and over the top.
Overall the film has a lot of similarities with “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” obviously for both are silent horror films from the 1920’s but they both use music, make up and acting to make both films understood without speaking.