Metropolis

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Metropolis is a 1927 German expressionist science-fiction drama film directed by Fritz Lang. Written by Thea von Harbou in collaboration with Lang from von Harbou’s 1925 novel of the same name intentionally written as a treatment, it stars Gustav Fröhlich, Alfred Abel, Rudolf Klein-Rogge, and Brigitte Helm.

1927 This influential German science-fiction film presents a highly stylised futuristic city where a beautiful and cultured utopia exists above a bleak underworld populated by mistreated workers. When the privileged youth Freder (Gustav Fröhlich) discovers the grim scene under the city, he becomes intent on helping the workers. He befriends the rebellious teacher Maria (Brigitte Helm), but this puts him at odds with his authoritative father, leading to greater conflict.


In the future, wealthy industrialists and business magnates and their top employees reign over the city of Metropolis from colossal skyscrapers, while underground-dwelling workers toil to operate the great machines that power it. Joh Fredersen is the city’s master. His son, Freder, idles away his time at sports and in a pleasure garden, but is interrupted by the arrival of a young woman named Maria, who has brought a group of workers’ children to witness the lifestyle of their rich “brothers”. Maria and the children are ushered away, but Freder becomes fascinated by her and goes to the lower levels to find her. In the machine halls, he witnesses the explosion of a huge machine that kills and injures numerous workers. Freder has a hallucination that the machine is a temple of Moloch and the workers are being fed to it. When the hallucination ends and he sees the dead workers being carried away on stretchers, he hurries to tell his father about the accident. Fredersen asks his assistant, Josaphat, why he learned of the explosion from his son, and not from him.

Metropolis is now widely regarded as one of the greatest and most influential films ever made, ranking 35th in Sight & Sound‘s 2012 critics’ poll.

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