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Symmetry in Metropolis

by Kate Fortmueller

The environments in German Expressionist films are extremely stylized, but not always in the same way because the form needs to support the content. The sets in a late Expressionist film like Metropolis use a slightly different type of stylization - extreme symmetry rather than jagged edges and chiaroscuro lighting. Metropolis is a sci-fi film of epic proportions, which also marked the end of German Expressionism. By the time Lang made Metropolis in 1927, the industrial structure that made this kind of film (effects, huge sets, thousands of extras) was under a great deal of stress and directors were not given the same amount of free reign over their films. This clip from the opening demonstrates the way in which stylization creates not only insight into disturbed individual subjectivity, but also can be used to leverage a critique of an increasingly mechanized society.

Metropolis (1927) - Opening

The opening introduces the underground city and the conditions for the workers.

from Metropolis (1927)
Creator: Fritz Lang
Distributor: Kino Video
Posted by Kate Fortmueller