Saturday - Entry 10:
I just finished watching Metropolis Restored. Although the first act of the movie was impressive, I could now see why H.G. Wells called this movie silly. Never mind the laughable scene as the face of Maria was transferred to the Mechanical Man, nor distract yourself with the hedonistic burlesque act as the Mechanical Maria whipped the rich boys into a lustful hysteria…if this movie was about the proletariat throwing off their capitalistic masters, why were they depicted so disrespectfully? This bunch of screaming Luddites didn't have a brain cell shared between them. And as they destroyed their own existence in a mad frenzy, I wondered what the point of this movie was. What was Lang trying to say? Were the rich evil? Were the poor evil? Was technology evil?
Lang's solution to show his mediator, Frederic, as the embodiment of the heart was to make all the characters nincompoops—caricatures in the extreme. The poor—the hands—were veritable Neanderthals, easily riled this way and that without a moment's thought. The rich—the head—were decadent, heartless & calculating to a fault. They profited off death and misery, and celebrated their wealth. Only religion seemed to be shown in a favorable light with Frederic as a Christ-figure who bound head and hands with heart. In fact, spiritual themes tied this movie throughout.
In the end I didn't view this movie quite as favorably as I did when I started (I found the first act visually brilliant), but I did have a better respect for Metropolis. I also knew that all narratives given to me by teachers over the years that this movie was a condemnation of the rich were false narratives delivered by fools. The greatest evil of all in this movie was found in the educated—the scientist. He meddled with forces he didn't understand while blinded by his idealism. He saw himself above the workers just as the rich did, but he considered himself smarter than the rich. It seems that a lot of people watched this movie and saw the evils in everybody but themselves. H.G. Wells may have thought this movie too simplistic, but it wasn't meant to be a deep narrative. It was clear Lang was showing that the excesses of man were as present in 1927 as they were in Biblical times.
And they are just as present today. Man needs balance. Without it he is lost to excess. ★★★★☆
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