Metropolis German Expressionism Discussion

Metropolis German Expressionism Discussion

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Metropolis, directed by Fritz Lang, can be considered one of the earliest science films in history, and one that showed a broad future for films in this genre. The movie is still an icon through its expressionist nature and inspired several other films such as "The Matrix," "Queen of the Night" by Whitney Houston, Dark City, Blade Runner, and several songs by artists Lady Gaga. Even though the movie was silent, it expressed many values and ideas about modern society’s future. Society was rapidly changing, and technology would essentially take center stage in the future. The expression of the future of modern society forms the film movement of Metropolis. The expression was in line with Lang’s vision of a society that would be technologically independent through industrialization. The film movement was also categorized with the introduction of several key concepts in modern films, such as robots in various areas of society. Metropolis captures German Expressionism by showing the impact of technology in modern society through industrialization and the use of robots, the gap between the rich and the poor, and the superiority of compassion, humanity, and love amidst greed for money and power Metropolis German Expressionism Discussion.

Fritz Lang was one among film directors and writers who realized technology would be crucial in modern society, as many people would be dependent on the technology. The director contributed to German Expressionism and showed that most people would quit living in the rural areas and find refuge in cities to make ends meet (Corrigan, pg. 47). Technology would be essential in helping the cities to accommodate a large number of people.

The movie was also part of German Expressionism by indicating the rift between the rich and the poor in modern society. The gap will be contributed by capitalism, where the rich would benefit more from the poor’s labor than the poor themselves (Donahue, pg. 23). The rich would therefore be in a position to enjoy various resources such as land and would isolate themselves from the rest of the society while the poor will clump together in cities where they will be subject to pollution and poor living conditions. The rich will gain a lot of power from the labor and toil of the poor and would use it to condemn and put the poor in line in case of a revolution seeking to change the course of history. This is shown when a robot duplicates Maria, the activist who is constantly condemning the gap between the rich and the poor in society, which results in a revolution and leads to trouble for all involved.

The production of the robot by Rotwang was one of his works where he aimed at replacing workers in the industries (Lang). The replacement would be more profitable for the industrialists as they would not have to pay, deal with their grievances, and the robots would be more productive than people due as they will not be prone to exhaustion. The rich are ready to do anything to ensure guaranteed profits from their industries; hence they do not hesitate to transfer Maria’s appearance to the robot that almost costs Maria her life (Lang). However, despite all the input, technology does not win as the robot maria incites the workers to revolt and stand against machines’ replacement. This, however, does not go well, as it makes the rich adopt any necessary measures to control the revolution that threatens the lives of the poor Metropolis German Expressionism Discussion.

The expression of love, compassion, and humanity amidst the desire for riches and power are also central to Expressionism. The film shows that true love, humanity, and compassion will always win and will determine modern society’s survival despite the existence of a variety of evils. Freder, despite being brought among as an industrialist, realizes that the poor are also human and deserve better and humane treatment. He struggles to make his father understand, and despite all the consequences, he still stands with Maria to the end. Near the end of the movie, real Maria manages to escape, and through the help of Freder, they manage to save the workers from the flood. The workers burn the robotic Maria, who turns into metal, assuring them of their activity (Lang). At the end of the film, the scientist, Rotwang, dies, which is indicative of the death of his principles of inhumanity and the desire for power and money. Fredersen becomes compassionate of the workers indicating a win for the people.


In conclusion, Metropolis captures German Expressionism through showing the impact of technology in modern society through industrialization and the use of robots, the gap between the rich and the poor, and the superiority of compassion, humanity, and love amidst greed for money and power. These concepts have inspired a long list of films and songs in the modern-day. The movie was one of the most expensive films of its time as it used an estimated 1.2 million dollars that is now about 16 million dollars. This is just a tenth of the budget of modern science films.

Works cited

Corrigan, Timothy, and Graham Corrigan. A short guide to writing about film. Vol. 7. Pearson Education, 2014.

Donahue, Neil H., ed. A Companion to the Literature of German Expressionism. Camden House, 2005.

Metropolis. Dir. Fritz. Lang. Perf. Brigitte Helm and Gustav. Frohlich. 1927 Metropolis German Expressionism Discussion.