Metropolis: Hand, Heart and Brain

Deep below

the earth’s surface lay

the workers’ city.

deep as
lay the workers’
city below the earth,
so high above it towered
the complex named the “Club
of the Sons,” with its lecture halls
and libraries, its theaters and stadiums.

The stratified society. Fordism Era. The upper classes living in a well structured city while the workers stay underground with basically no rights.

The only way they can endure this destructive environment is through their secret gatherings, where they hear a woman, Maria, prophesying about a saviour to come, who would intermediate the worker’s hand and the brain and ruler of the entire Metropolis, Joh Fredeser. She was delivering an almost spiritual faith, extremely important to the maintenance of the system’s status quo.

The beginning of mass production required humans to work uninterruptedly in slavery-like conditions. When Joh Fredeser’s son sees the underground world and the terrifying magnificent Machine Hall he feels so sorrowful about the working conditions he tells his father to reevaluate the situation.

As Above, So Below
The hermetic reference is clear. Also, when presenting opposite poles, such as “evil and good”, “up and down”, “poor and rich”.

While this, the mad scientist, Rotwang, develops a human machine, which would serve humankind in all wished purposes. Joh is amused and looks forward to controlling her. It happens that the scientist betrays him and he is the one to operate the machine. He maliciously insert Maria’s face into the apparatus, so he could easily conduct workers through his desires.

A pentagram on Rotwang’s door. Disciples of Pythagoras affixed a pentagram on their door as a secret sign of mutual recognition. The sign and its meaning could remain secret despite that public display because only those initiated into the mysteries of Pythagoras’ geometry were able to draw it correctly and to appreciate its deep significance as a symbol for and gateway to those mysteries.

The Tower of Babel

“According to Genesis, the Babylonians wanted to make a name for themselves by building a mighty city and a tower ‘with its top in the heavens.’ God disrupted the work by so confusing the language of the workers that they could no longer understand one another. The city was never completed, and the people were dispersed over the face of the earth.”

Similarly, Metropolis lays in the top, while workers remain on the subsoil. Once the leader and the workers could not establish an effective communication the system would eventually fall. Because the workers weren’t able to reach the “brain” to expose all their needs and frustrations, they would deliver all their expectations and dissatisfactions to the hands of someone else, a spirituous leader, for example. They needed a mediator.

There can be no understanding between the hand and the brain unless the heart acts as mediator

And the mediator should be the heart, a compassionate yet compelling person. Not a cold and malevolent one.

Head and hands want to join together, but they don’t have the heart to do it…Oh, mediator, show them the way to each other….

“As regards to Masonry, Babel of course represented a Masonic enterprise and early expositors reaped full benefit from the facts. They remembered that the people, who were of ‘one language and one speech’ journeyed from the East to the West, like those who have been tried and proved as Master Masons. When they reached an abiding place in the land Shinar, it is affirmed that they dwelt therein as Noachide, being the first characteristic name of Masons. It was here that they built their high tower of confusion. Out of evil comes good, however, and the confusion of tongues gave rise to ‘the ancient practice of Masons conversing without the use of speech.’”
-Arthur Edward Waite, A New Encyclopedia of Freemasonry and of Cognate Instituted Mysteries: Their Rites, Literature and History, Volume I

Maria And The Machine

Maria represents the supernatural faith, in which men escape from their abhorrent existence and which nourishes hope – vital to the worker’s endurance. When this holy image is replaced by a human-lead machine the destruction is inevitable. Once the workers seem to lack critical sense (they were raised to operate machines only), they would do anything the leader suggested in order to guarantee theirs happy ending. Maria’s antithesis leads to an apocalyptic scenario, evoking all the sevens sins and commencing a chaotic succession of facts, resulting in a great flood that almost vanished all the worker’s children.

Is C3PO Maria’s son?

Feder, Joh’s son, descends into the labourers’ world firstly because he was fascinated by the pure Maria, and from them on he plays a pivotal rule to support the workers. He is the one accept the world he did not belong to in order to provide a better life to those, quite like Jesus. And between God and men, Jesus is the mediator.

an interesting scene:

First of all, it has predicted video calls, although they didn’t have the sight of a mobile device.

And then, why did Joh allowed Grot to open the gates, letting things take their course? He knew that it would result in a Heart Machine destruction. Maybe, like God, he was delivering free-will, so workers would seek and find their own Apocalypse.

Hands, Brain and the Heart

So, what is the moral of the film?

That we should rethink our oppression and fight for equality whilst voting for a prominent mediator?

Or maybe, a tip for us to be careful about Machine-Man creation? And also always question technology and the paths it is leading us to?

Or: workers must be underground, where they belong and for that to keep working it is needed a mediator, which will provide communication between the workers and the thinkers? And who would be this mediator? Well, the media.

Mass media manipulate the masses’ thoughts and feelings on a daily basis, tricking them into loving their oppression.

And maybe are the media representatives only a mind-controlled droids?

Should workers keep feeding the machine? What is the role of religion?

Isn’t the fact that the mediator is the brain’s son a threat? Or even a cheat, once it would possibly support his fathers interests, once it is truly linked to him?

What is, for you, the main message of the film?

The Soundtrack

The film is mute but the synchronized music really suits the scenes and makes the mute cinema experience much more enjoyable. The soundtrack by Gottfried Huppertz is really a precious present.

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