Friday, July 04, 2008

Metropolis: the Pre-Dystopia of the Weimar Republic

Art Daily: "Lost Footage of "Metropolis" Film By Fritz Lang Is Found in Buenos Aires, Argentina"

The Pablo Ducrós Hicken Film Museum in Buenos Aires, Argentina has found in its archives a copy of the movie “Metropolis” directed in 1927 by Fritz Lang, with lost footage. The silent film was one of the most expensive ones (around $200 million dollars) and was cut heavily to make it more accessible. It was initially thought as a movie that would last two and a half hours. The footage that was found will add around 25 minutes to the film, but there will still be around five minutes missing. (...)

Metropolis is a science fiction film created by the Austrian-German director Fritz Lang. It was produced in Germany in the Babelsberg Studios and released in 1927. The screenplay was written in 1924 by Lang and his then wife, Thea von Harbou, and novelized by von Harbou in 1926.

It is set in a futuristic urban dystopia and examines a common science fiction theme of the day: the social crisis between workers and owners in capitalism. The film is set in the year 2026, in the extraordinary Gothic skyscrapers of a corporate city-state, the Metropolis of the title.

Society has been divided into two rigid groups: one of planners or thinkers, who live high above the earth in luxury, and another of workers who live underground toiling to sustain the lives of the privileged. The city is run by Johann 'Joh' Fredersen (Alfred Abel). >>>

IMDb has extensive documentation: slideshow, and 61 images.

The German interbellum, also known as the Weimar Republic, was initially dominated by Leftist revolutionary activities inspired by Russian Bolshevism. The terrified pragmatist 'third way' Governments of the time - which were characterized by ineffective compromizing and amoral pragmatism - thought they could cancel out Spartacist Leftist collectivist brutality by unleashing on it Rightist collectivist brutality, the Freicorps - remnants of the former Imperial paramilitaries.

A posting dated 8th February pictures the surrealism of the German Revolution that was the basis of German society at the time the film was produced, the chaos and decadence that shot the Hitler's National Socialist Workers Party to power just six years later.

The theme of the film is typical of the Marxist dialectic: the paranoid bipolar division of humanity in oppressors and oppressed, in this case the proletariat against a caste of city planners.

Objectivist author Leonard Peikoff in "The Ominous Parallels" has made a dramatic effort to collate the current cultural and political constellation with that of the Weimar Republic. He maps the underlying philosophical currents, which indeed partly overlap:

the peculiar paradox of relativist pragmatism with absolute dogmatism, and mystical subjectivism coupled with sexual permissiveness, all blanket-covered by the deeply ingrained sense of ethics in which individual sacrifice to the collective is the highest standard of human achievement. Pending ominous developments related to anti-human animal rights and its consequences for values, the parallel stops short at this moment in time.


Lord James Bigglesworth said...

Cassandra, we have a dilemma. Are you Cassandra Troy or is that another blogger?

If you're not the same, please check out the bloghounds.


Cassandra said...

yes James, CT is one of my pseudonyms

Lord James Bigglesworth said...

The obvious question with Metropolis is whether you'd need the extra 25 minutes. In which way would it add to the plot?

Wolfie said...

There was a plot?

Anonymous said...

Metropolis is a mighty film.

Anonymous said...

Forgot to say - I recorded the soundtrack of a BBC tv showing in 1977, an electronic version. Quite special. I still have it.