Jonathan White’s review published on Letterboxd:
Part of Lise’s annual 30 Countries Challenge / March Around the World
Film #13 - Germany
This film is 94 years old. It’s amazing how things haven’t changed.
This could be my simple one sentence thought on this groundbreaking sci-fi masterpiece, but, this is 30 Countries, after all, and I’m sure my sweetie would be quick to disqualify that simple thought. It also wouldn’t respect how much Fritz Lang defined the hard sci-fi genre.
While the oppressed vs privileged could be seen as obvious and heavy handed, they weren’t necessarily that to the audience of the day. As I alluded to in my one sentence quip, it is amazing how not only things haven’t changed, but also that Lang’s vision predicted the future. Here’ he presents an idea where the ultra-privileged are supported by the ultra-oppressed. When I saw the ‘workers city’ the first thing that popped into my head was an Amazon warehouse. When I saw and heard Joh Fredersen, head of Metropolis, disparaging his workers, I couldn’t help but think of Bezos. He doesn’t say it out loud, but he puts all his force behind those who would suppress unionization.
While kind of a flipside of what initiated conflict, Lang’s masterpiece completely predicts what is happening today. Conflict. Make the working class feel that they’re being taken advantage of by the elites … which they really are … but by those who ARE the elites who want to destroy the system. I think ‘The Inventor’ here is basically Steve Bannon.
The definition of Hard Sci-Fi is fiction that’s set in a future time or different place that shines the spotlight on the social conditions of the day. Lang did that, brilliantly, but it’s sad we didn’t learn from his art.