Monday, June 3, 2019
Themes in Metropolis
Themes in MetropolisChannelling a zeitgeist of Totalities, Metropolis explores how dy retrovertic values result in freeing of humanity. The reductionism of the workers, debased to mindless cattle through the stark unanimity of costuming and emotionless body language during Shift Change, foreshadows the deteriorating economic situation as Germany approached the Great Depression. The dehumanisation of the proletariats as they move through the Workers City is emphasised by the movement of intertitles down the screen. It suggests that the workers have become part of the functional elevator they are riding in, mirroring their social status as the recurring motif of subscript Hands to the superior Head addressing the emerging post-war social stratification experienced by Langs original audience. The workers grim reality sharply noteed with the gaiety and decadence of the timeless Gardens, a twisted biblical allusion to the Garden of Eden. The gaudy courtesans and men are ironically deh umanised, as their frolicking in this utopian, idyllic setting gives them a deified yet bestial quality. Lang thus degrades their humanity until what remains is an animalistic baseness, inflated by their expressionist acting resonant of the style in post-war Weimar nightlife. Consequently, the film reveals Metropolis as a cinematic masterpiece hybridising traditional pastoral Germany and the post-war world one modernist era.In stark contrast, Orwell, holds a deeply pessimistic perspective, specifically positing the weakness of character in response to oppression. 1984 is a clear reaction to the prevailing 1940s social orthodoxy which blindly lauded the totalitarian methods of the USSR, and as such, expounds the inevitable subjugation of humanity under suppose control. The two minutes hate is seen to easily avert the citizenrys oppressed frustrations to an external inimical target, highlighting the malleability of human passion, while the heretic Goldsteins verbosity evokes that o f Soviet dissident Leon Trotsky, thus allowing Orwell to equate the Partys despotic practices with the USSRs. In addition, whilst the use of a third person, limited point of view allows for the comprehension of Winstons stark individuality, the parataxis in He loved Big Brother is jarring, and suggests Orwells firm belief in the inevitable weakness of the human spirit against oppression. It is a bleak coda in contrast to that of Metropolis, thus emphasizing the inevitable overwhelming of the human spirit by oppressive forces. Furthermore, the ultimate dismantling of personal reason is illustrated in OBriens self-reflexive They got me long ago, suggesting his preceding individuality, now dismantled, with such nihilism emanating from Orwells own betrayal and persecution by pro-Soviet socialist comrades whilst serving during the Spanish Civil War. Further raised in the Partys mantra He who controls the past controls the future this attitude emphasises the perpetual overwhelming of hum an expression under oppressive regimes.Metropolis also condemns the degeneration within Langs social zeitgeist by capturing the corrosive consequences of revolutions, echoing a period of instability in the rebellions against a fragile democracy. Lang reflects Hitlers futile Beer Hall Putsch in 1923, through the biblical allusion of the construction of the rear of Babel, foreshadows the destruction of Metropolis to didactically warn against anarchy and revolution. Fredersens frantic repetition of, where is my son? coupled with theatrical acting in an Expressionist fashion emphasises his gruelling emotional turmoil, positioning audiences to align with Langs perspective that in the struggle to rise against the present, the future of ensuing generations will be compromised. By extension, the juxtaposition of Marias struggle to stop the flooding against Grots ease in initiating this change affirms Langs perspective that it is far more difficult to wind back revolutionary change, echoi ng Germanys cataclysmic period of hyperinflation fuelled by the Ruhr uprising in 1923. Thus, Langs portrayal of revolution to entail destructive consequences clearly stems from contextual influence of the revolts in Weimar Germany.Unlike Metropolis, 1984 draws on the beliefs of the time to present an ideologic critique of technology as a propagandist tool for manipulation. In keeping with his obsession with national security and through recurring motifs of surveillance, Orwell portrays technology as a means for the Party to amass unchallenged orthodoxy and fear, evident in Winstons apprehensive tone, no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any moment, representing loss of individual agency. Embodied in the brutal personification, you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face-for ever, and compounded by the fact that Minitrues technology allows the past to be erased, the erasure was forgotten, the lie became truth. Relaying contextual fears of a possible Stalinist regime, Orwells polyptoton illustrates that time and truth can be blotted out by technology, reducing them to mere symbols of human fallibility. Furthermore, people can be vaporised, You will be annihilated in the past as well as in the future. You will never have existed, though the anaphoric use of will is ironic since 1984 operates as Orwells didactic commentary. Orwell aligned with Langs perspective that there is no possibility of a future when the usurpation of natural boundaries through technology as a tool for manipulation results in such a dystopic society.