Thursday, April 27, 2006


The reputation of Fritz Lang's 1927 film is built on its qualities as a dreamscape, a design portfolio, and its ease of access as a parable of Good vs. Evil, Working- vs. Ruling-Class, Heart vs. Mind. Its delineation of ideas and its "message" are strikingly... simplistic, and I'm inclined to believe Lang's purpose in creating so airtight a "perfect fantasy" was to put together an irresistible family-night event. Here blue-collar fathers could dream of utopia, and white-collar Herrmeisters could entertain the notion of final redemption, heavenly forgiveness...

The mise en scène exists almost exclusively for atmospheric effect. A moment of exception comes in Gustav Fröhlich's first sighting of the waifish Brigitte Helm, a pseudo-Christian demagogue (later chased by Rudolf Klein-Rogge through catacombs that evoke the early Christian mystery-cults' persecution), in which Fröhlich places both hands over his heart. A reverse-shot of Helm, a group of children, and a few garden-aides, positioned in a heart-shaped formation, completes the sentiment.

That's just about everything I have to say about 'Metropolis'. I wish there were more.

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