City Tech, Fall 2016

History repeats itself

The film starts out with machinery film shots which capture attention well to give off a theme of an industrial life for those who we are introduced to. The workers, the people who keep all the machinery flowing smoothly. At 5:04, you see that their heads are looking downward as they drag their feet to work. Have they accepted their fate as nothing more than a drone living for only one purpose? As they head down to the  Worker’s City, the buildings remind me of the housing projects I see everyday in The Bronx. It feels a bit eerie to see something made so long ago only to have it spawn in your neighborhood in the present. In this movie, your freedom depends on who you born into. Child of a worker lives a meaningless life of labor in the machines. The offspring of the city’s social elite is given access to the Son’s Club, a place teeming with knowledge and activities. You can go visit the library, run the track field or play in the Eternal Gardens. (6:10)

In minutes 15-17, Freder witnesses an accident at the Machine-Halls. He had a vision where the Machine took the form of a giant demon face, eating up the workers harmed by the steam. It looks like a symbol of the human toll it takes to keep these leviathan metal contraptions running. When the injured and dead are cleared, the work continues like nothing has happened. After this, we meet Joh Fredersen, the man who planned the building of Metropolis. Joh is the mind in this film, for he is the one made the city plans. He is a man of little compassion. He does not seem to worry about the workers upon hearing about the explosion. When Joh’s son asks where the ‘people who built this city’, his response is merely ‘…Off where they belong.’ (24:30)

(52:33) Maria begins her tale: The Legend of the Construction of Tower of Babel. She talks of a grand tower that stretched into the sky. The men who had thought up this tower couldn’t do it alone. They hire help, a lot of it. It is built by the sweat and blood of the common man. The praise from the makers had begun to grow sour on the workers. In altercation, the tower is destroyed. I find this to be interesting as I consider it the foreshadowing of of events to come. The hard work of the common man feels taken for granted from the men on top of the tower. When left with no options, anger can make people do the unthinkable. In this case, nearly bringing a city to ruin.

1 Comment

  1. Sky Captaina - Alex S

    One thing to also keep in mind is that is tale of the Tower of Babel is modafied to meet the message of the movie, yes in the original telling there was miscommunication and lack of understanding between people but it was due to “God came down to look at the city and tower, and remarked that as one people with one language, nothing that they sought would be out of their reach. God went down and confounded their speech, so that they could not understand each other, and scattered them over the face of the earth, and they stopped building the city. Thus the city was called Babel.” (
    for the people could no longer speak the same language and so it sounded like babel to them. Here it is more of a lack of dialog between the head and the hands vs two different languages

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