Metropolis, released in 1927, is based on the class difference and how the protagonist played the role of mediator between them. It is a silent movie shot in Germany. The story revolves around Freder who is the only son of an industrialist Joh Frederson, the evil scientist Rotwang and Maria.
Maria makes Freder witness the miserable conditions of workers and he gets terrified when he witnesses a tragic incident of labors death. He decides to help the laborers after knowing that his father is well aware of this labor exploitation and is reluctant to bring a change. Maria and Freder fall in love with each other and to stop them, Joh instructs the scientist to abduct Maria and turn her into a robot which will abolish the city of laborers. Freder somehow manages to save the children of laborers as well as the ‘good Maria’ and all the exasperated laborers burn the bad Maria made by Rotwang. After all the struggle and determination, Freder eliminates the differences between the privileged and underprivileged classes by pursuing them to shake hands with each other. Hence, he becomes the mediator for the laborers which Maria has preached them about.
The movie gives us a chance to witness the situation of industries. It reminds me of industrialization era and Marxist critique. I could witness the negative side of capitalism that we rarely think of in the form of the robotic lives of these inhumanly treated laborers working day and night in miserable conditions of factories. The movie depicts the clear distinction between the two lives prevailing in our society, the one we live and the one the workers are given by us. They are shown as the ‘other’ and we treat them as the other.
On the other hand, taking this point further, I can also relate it to H. G. Wells The Time Machine according to which these laborers are going to rule the elites in future. It can be explained better with Foucault’s idea of power and knowledge as in the movie the ruling class controls the working class who are trained to perform certain tasks assigned to them individually. After consistent approach of capitalism that the societies have been following for years now, these laborers have the knowledge to operate the machines used in production of goods while the high class officers are completely unaware of those techniques. Eventually, the knowledge is shifting down as a result of which one day the control will be in their hands, as argued by Wells.
This is an example of a dystopian city which initially appears to be a utopian metropolis. However, both the representation of a utopia and dystopia are depicted brilliantly.Despite, there are also a few scenes of eroticism which I found quite irrelevant.