Metropolis (Cont.)

Last Time

  • Discussed the idea that Maria (the real Maria) is an angelic figure, as you see her with children entering the Eternal Gardens; the children signify she’s caring, nurturing, and good
  • Left off with Freder in search for Maria

Today’s Lecture

Freder’s transition from Upper-Class Playboy to Mediator (13:53)

  • Freder learns about class inequality through his attraction to Maria
  • Freder (and the viewer) observes the following about the workers: they move in sync with the machines they work on and are exhausted
  • The thermometer rising is related to maintaining the heat levels of the machines
  • The machine becomes personified (as Moloch) when it explodes
  • Freder’s expression in his dramatized shots, show fear, shock, but also realization that things need to be changed (that he should later become the Mediator of the working and upper-class).

Sacrifice to the Machine (13:53)

  • The men look like they are bound and are slaves
  • More groups of people go into Moloch; as though to maintain the routine as though it’s normal
  • The two gate-keepers of Moloch appear to be “savage”

[An aside comparison with Trip to the Moon]

  • The moon men (Selenites) are like the two gate-keepers; recurrence in Sci-Fi to have the “other” be a savage or barbaric person
  • This viewpoint was popular during early American worldviews that painted tribal people as different, and allowed early 20th century writers to exoticize them through Science Fiction.

Jon Frederson’s Office; no one is comfortable, even with status (19:15)

  • You can see everyone is anxious working with Jon Frederson
  • No one is exempt from living comfortable lives, not even Jon Frederson later on when he’s concerned with his own son
  • Shows a similarity between the working and upper-class citizens in their constant anxiety over the tasks they need to do (although it’s not nearly as dangerous as maintaining the machines below)

Rotwang; the original “Mad Scientist” (~38:00)

  • He’s a cyborg, denoted by his hand being robotic after creating his man-machine
  • The exterior of his lab looks like a church, which alludes to his ability to create life and thus having “divine powers”
  • Creates Hel as the man-machine (first double introduced); has a Pentagram above where she sits, which signifies demonic/sacrilegious; has female attributes based on the curves (43:40)
  • The clocks in Rotwangs lab mirror the worker’s movements when operating the machines they labor over (47:30)

Maria; Ave Maria (51:50)

  • Under the catacombs she’s preaching and the subject is the Tower of Babel; there’s an altar, candles, crosses; Maria wears white (purity) and a scarf, which a lot of religious figure adorn
  • Can clearly see that this is a church and she’s the pastor
  • The men are kneeling showing respect to her, with reverent faces (as though they are at mass)

Creation of Maria’s Double (1:23:00)

  • Reminiscent of “Frankenstein”, likely being an homage
  • Alludes to the idea of thinking one is in control of the monster, but in reality the monster has a mind of it’s own (the man-machine being the monster in this case)

Distinction between Real and Fake Maria (1:28:50)

  • The recurring theme of doubling with Fake Maria; unable to distinguish the synthetic and real
  • The audience is able to tell; Fake Maria has dark eye shadow/mascara and her eyes twitch more, as though she’s malfunctioning
  • Interesting imagery using the eyes to have it be the tell, because eyes are “windows to the soul”; so use of black makes it seem like it’s evil or malicious


What does it mean to be “human”?

  • Constantly grappled with idea in Science-Fiction stories
  • Writers push the limits of the perception of what is really human
  • Can something be human if it passes as human and mimics them?
  • Can something be human if it feels the same way as humans do?

Brave New World (Ch. 1-5)

  • Utopia/Dystopia is brought up again in BNW, since it’s one of the three most notable dystopian novels
  • On the surface it looks like a utopia, but it’s really a dystopia in outside perspective; which seems to be the case with most utopia/dystopia novels

Class Discussion: What Stuck Out In The Book?

  1. Developing Children as though it were an assembly line

  2. Soma; the drug that is excessively used in the society

  3. Manipulation of language (p. 62)

  4. Caste System/ranking based on genes

  5. Hypnopædia; programming humans with suggestive thoughts while sleeping

  6. Parallels of doing human experiments on actual people in our own society (Little Albert Experiment)

  7. Viewing Soma & Sex as a “religion” (the Solidarity Service)

  8. Bernard is seen as an outcast

  9. Use of similes; Mother & Child like Cat & Kitten (p.43)

  10. Bokanovsky process; competing with others to be efficient; science/progress; 13. stability

  11. Individuality; the view on sex/society defines a person’s individualism (like with Lenina and Helmholst)

  12. Therapy; the conditioning that is done that we would use to benefit people, is used here to be exploitative

  13. (See 10)

  14. Happiness; conditioning creates “happiness” but are you truly happy? (p. 77)

  15. Fear/disgust of the old world; old world mentality of personal connections don’t benefit a society that focuses on the greater good

  16. Social Predestination; everything is planned out and monitored by people outside of your life, from conception to death

Some other ideas to be aware of

  • The motto: Community, Identity, Stability
  • There’s a monetary incentive to do Bokanovsky (p.17)
  • The idea of progress (p.17): efficiency, mass production, standardization, good of society, mass quantity, sustainability (balance), development (ie, betterment), equal opportunity
  • It’s clear that Helmhost and Marx are individuals (p.71)

Review For Next Class

  • The section that rapidly changed perspectives in each paragraph (with Mustapha) (~p.45)
  • Individualism (p.69)

Key Terms (will be talked about more next class)

Bokanovsky Process

Mass Production/Assembly Line



Eugenics/Social Engineering/Social Darwinism




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