Communism In Fritz Lang's Metropolis

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The exploitative political systems within Fritz Lang’s film Metropolis (1927) and George Orwell’s 1984 position the reader to invest emotionally in the plight of individuals. The texts offer a critique of the repressive social conditions within the composers’ social, historical and cultural context. Lang’s avant-guarde film focuses on problematic social tensions between the capitalist elite and proletariat in the Weimer Republic. 1984 also explores concerns about the hierarchical division of power, satirising totalitarian systems of indoctrination and repression in a post WWII society. In this sense, the didactic representations extrapolate from contextual fears but through an evaluation of the intertextual perspectives, they offer different…show more content…
The gentle lighting and the warm gaze of Maria preaching to the masses in the catacombs cements her matriarchal and influential status, further exemplified through her expressive heartfelt movements. Her actions align with Freder, the mediator who advocates for a mutual co-existence between the workers and capitalists, highlighting the interdependency of the classes. However, the religious endorsement of social harmony is contrasted with the moral corruption of Robot Maria, reflecting the fears about technology and decadence during the Golden Twenties. Her dark costuming and aggressive movements encapsulate the dangers of using technology irresponsibly as a tool for exploitation. The visual tableau of robot Maria as the “Whore of Babylon” evokes the anarchic, Marxist tendencies of the workers. However the montage of apocalyptic shots of burst water pipes draws on the chaos caused by the German worker’s revolution in 1919 to criticise irrational and destructive forms of rebellion. Lang advocates moderate change, using Frederson’s transformation, depicted clutching his head in his hands, to indicate his regret about the exploitation of the workers. It results in mediation, contrasting Orwell's more confronting portrayal of control, to imply that compassion can become a feature of the political system. Lang values a hierarchical system…show more content…
The proles form 85% of the population offering the prospect of resistance but they are caught in the revolutionary paradox, ”Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious”. Ironically their lack of political consciousness prevents them from mobilising, reflecting Orwell’s concern that the absence of mass education undermines democratic systems in his context. Orwell also laments the demise of human connection through Winston’s relationship with Julia. “The coral” symbolises” Julia’s life and his own”, a moment of intimacy in defiance of state control that is tragically extinguished by O’Brien’s interrogation, “Do it to Julia! Not to me!” humanity is reduced to an ironic “love” of Big Brother where even the “freedom to say 2+2=4” is eclipsed. Ultimately through an annihilation of dignity and hope Winston becomes a loyal adherent of Party Dogma, succumbing to the metaphoric “boot stomping on the human face-forever”. Orwell’s bleak vision reinforces that entrenched totalitarian systems are difficult to change, contrasting Lang’s more hopeful yet naive perception. The contrast between Winston’s plight and the denouement of Metropolis underscores the composers’ differing perspectives on the possibilities of
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