Posts tagged ‘robots’

May 5, 2010

Do the robot dance.

by Savvy

Maria the Evil Hedonistic Robot, Metropolis

I would like to quote the description of this extract’s uploader:
Short clip from Fritz Lang’s Metropolis showing the forgotten art of arm dancing“.

I do love arm dancing.

May 5, 2010

Dystopia v 1.0.

by Savvy

Metropolis [Fritz Lang, 1927]

“Metropolis is a 1927 German expressionist film in the science-fiction genre directed by Fritz Lang. Produced in Germany during a stable period of the Weimar Republic, Metropolis is set in a futuristic urban dystopia and makes use of the science fiction context to explore a political theme of the day: the social crisis between workers and owners in capitalism.

The film is set in the massive, sprawling futuristic mega-city Metropolis, whose society is divided into two classes: one of planners and management, who live high above the Earth in luxurious skyscrapers, and one of workers, who live and toil underground”.

In essence, it is a old fashioned fairy tale set in a futuristic vision, of climaxing development and its imminent and unescapable downfall. To tie it all together, a saintly female figure, Maria, (referencing, no doubt, the Holy Mary) gives hope to the workers – the HANDS – with a naive idyllic resolution that a Mediator will come  – the HEART – and bring peaceful understanding between them and the rich capitalists – the MINDS.

Que the crazy star-crossed scientist who created a robotic version of his long lost love, who incidentally was married to the city’s creator, who then hires him to use his Frankenstein-esque laboratory machines to give the robot an alter-ego of Maria, in order to lead the Hands into temptation.

Maria’s Transformation

The film was written with Lang’s wife, Thea von Harbou. Despite their vision being well ahead of its time, Lang later expressed dissatisfaction with the film;

“The main thesis was Mrs. Von Harbou’s, but I am at least 50 percent responsible because I did it. I was not so politically minded in those days as I am now. You cannot make a social-conscious picture in which you say that the intermediary between the hand and the brain is the heart. I mean, that’s a fairy tale — definitely. But I was very interested in machines. Anyway, I didn’t like the picture — thought it was silly and stupid — then, when I saw the astronauts: what else are they but part of a machine? It’s very hard to talk about pictures— should I say now that I like Metropolis because something I have seen in my imagination comes true, when I detested it after it was finished?”

It is believed these reservations stemmed from the Nazi Party’s fascination with the film. His wife later became a passionate member of the Nazi Party and the two divorced the following year.

Perhaps Von Harbou condoned the separation between the Hands and the Minds; perhaps she believed the possibility of an intermediary only exists in fairy tales, perhaps she did not see shades of grey. Lang’s fascination as it were was with technology after all, not with the theme of slavery in isolation; what he maybe did not foresee was that technology would one day greatly abolish the Hands in such a metropolis, a future city where little by little machines with hand-like qualities would take over.

Brigitte Helm as Maria the Robot. As well as playing the two opposing sides to her character, Brigitte Helm also plays the robot – Lang wanted her to get in touch with all aspects of her character, one which is that of the machine.