Sex and Violence, Religion and Technology: Themes in Fritz Lang's "Metropolis"

Shaken by the effects of World War I and forever changed by the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century, 1920s Germany found itself in a dilemma: how to cope with increasingly pervasive technology and the rapid evolution present in every segment of society? With technology offering humans the ability to kill more people in less time than had ever been imagined, Modernism attempted to mediate between those in positions of power, "the Heads", and those in positions of submission, "the Hands". In 1926, Fritz Lang attempted to address this problem with his landmark film, "Metropolis", set in an exaggerated, Manhattan-esque cityscape and a dystopian, divided society. In the film, Lang proposes that "The mediator between the head and hands must be the heart!" While perhaps overly simplistic, Lang's film nonetheless provides a strong commentary on technology's effect on society, a paleomodernist use of religious motifery and symbolism, and an exploration of feminine sexuality as a parallel of technology.

The film starts with a scene of the "shift change", depicting uniform-clad workers shuffling silently to an elevator that will take them from the underground Worker's...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 921 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 7294 literature essays, 2060 sample college application essays, 302 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in