The Idea of Technology : reviewing the film Metropolis (Assignment 2)


Metropolis is a science fiction movie directed by Fritz Lang in 1927, the movie is set in context to the German expressionism narrating the visual psychological effects that people of Germany went through during that time. The film talks about layers of issues being a silent piece, mostly related to cultural and political agendas, for most philosophers the film served as a warning to the world as to where Germany was heading in the future.  I believe the warning is still relevant to us in this current era where we see technology is used as a political agenda to control human beings and making them as a product of modern science.

Metropolis is set in the year 2000 where the city is constructed in a futuristic space with stylized huge buildings which to me they were used as a metaphor to convey the message of power, greed and misery of the humans who were used as machines. Throughout the film the labor class is shown being physically and mentally exhausted being under the rule of modern capitalism where the workers are treated as slaves programmed to do certain things in a certain way mechanically, the repetitive shot of the huge clock in the film is an example of control where the worker is attached to the machinery constantly moving it without taking a break.


Karl Marx was always curious about how capitalism affected the societies to grow when the labor class itself never gets to enjoy the fruits of their own hard work and creation. Karl Marx mentioned the ‘socialist man’ which leds to the theory of secularization. Marx said that ‘the new man will be content with his functional role in society, probably something like well-fed cattle’s.’

While analyzing the film, Lang also constantly puts us through the struggle of class divide where the technology plays a vital role in the narrative being the dictator promising the workers a better future and modernity treating workers like cattles who constantly sacrifice their lives in the struggle of saving the monstrous machine which keeps demanding more work from them.

I believe that the film maker is making us aware of the idea of technological determinism which was later explained by Martin Heidegger a German philosopher, who critiqued technology and explained that the promise of technology of bringing a better future should not be treated as the idea of control. As human beings we all look forward to a world where our weaknesses become into our strengths and we are all flawless however its not the way that we think technology is no longer just a medium of convenience to us all or just a tool to progress faster but has now become an intact, irreplaceable part of us all.Cellphones are one of the example.

Technology should be treated secondary to human values and systems and we should not be dependent to it to an extent that we are unable to function without it. Everywhere we go, everything we do, every idea we believe in is along the lines of technology and how we evolve from it. I believe to a certain extent technology has brought us far away from our slow paced, cultural dependent past, into a future filled with opportunities with fewer human limitations.


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