Dystopian City Visions
In 2026, the city of Metropolis
is cold, mechanical and industriail -- it presents a view of what the world
might have been like if the industrial revolution had continued to grow.
The city is crowded, jammed packed, with buildings and machinery. Massive
forms of monumental structures prevent light from reaching the depths of
the city. Roads are layered high up into the sky. Cars stop behind one
another in continuous ribbon of traffic. With the exception of that in
the sub-real pleasure garden, nature is denied a place to make room for
the concrete and the steel, the glass and the asphalt. Window upon window
looks out upon grayness. For all of its modernity,
it runs pretty slowly. On a tour through the city, Fritz Lang allows
us to fly between suspended streets and weave between solid magnificent
structures of building. The crowning Tower of Babel stands, majestic and
terrible over the other buildings. The top of the concrete hierarchy. It
is a grim vision of the city of the future.
The city of Metropolis is a crowded
one, where people are separated by birth into groups: they are part of
the privileged elite, or one in the crowd of repressed, impoverished masses.
In the Underground City lie the organs and the life blood of Metropolis.
Energy-producing machinery is run by workers (who are themselves dominated
by the machinery). Droves of workers are transported, like herds of cattle,
in caged elevators, to the work place: and they must fulfill their tasks,
or the city is doomed. There is no room for failure, there is no time for
procrastination. It's a question of survival of the fittest. Machines billow
out smoke and steam and puff and hiss. The people make the city, the city
makes the people. The people run the machines, the people are the machines.
Machines are the city and the city is . .
Metropolis was just the beginning
of the trend of city films. Parallels can and should be drawn between this
film and Blade Runner for example, or The Fifth Element.
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