Lecture 002


Germany, between WWI and WWII.

In 2-3 paragraphs, choose one of the thru-lines mentioned in the syllabus, and discuss how its future is manifested in the film:

The film presents an interesting dive into the future of work and automation imagined by the author of the film. In this dystopian world, automation is mostly mechanical instead of electrical. Extensive labor is put into operating machines by adjusting the gears in a physical way. This might be the result of failure to imagine things that are not familiar to the author in that time period. Similar to the idea of steampunk, people are good at taking existing concepts and making it to the extreme while not good at predicting something that operates in a drastically different way.

In Discord, we have discussed how this film objectifies women by adding all "duties" onto one character, which is reasonable since the author probably was unaware of this issue, but clearly not justifiable. To give us more food for thought, I want to directly point out another issue which is the main subject that this movie concerns.

The class structure in the film is not that different from that time period since it is the subject of the film in concern. It borrows many Marxism ideas to separate populations into the invisible, under-the-ground working-class proletarians (the "Hands") and ruling-class Bourgeoisie (the "Heads"). The movie mainly highlights the harm of protesting and advocating for a peaceful resolution between the proletarians and the Bourgeoisie. The movie also plants in the implicit assumption that the proletarians lack the ability to think before acting. The entire revolution in the movie is about following what other people (and the protagonist) are doing while the revolutionaries don't have a clear idea why they are acting. This can be seen quite literally when they start to call the protagonist a witch and totally ignore how their children are suffering from the flood they cause. The analogy of "Hands" and "Heads" build up an implicit dependency: the "Hands" cannot work without "Heads" and therefore should be ruled by "Heads". This movie, with its ideology, advocates and consolidates the regime of the German government.

jodhpurs/Josaphat = Joh Freder's son

Freder: touchy boy Joe Frederson: the boss

Gort: big bread guy?


Rotwang: the inventor, live in Metropolis, the wired house (mom Hel died, not really, robot mom)

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