Monday, March 9, 2009

Answers on "metropolis" and "Movie man"

Wicus Pretorius
Assignment on Metropolis and The man with the movie camera
7 March 2009

1.1. Industrialisation: the Body and the Machine.

I’m going to start off and discuss the relevance of this topic firstly with “Metropolis” and afterwards with “The man with the movie camera”.

In Metropolis they directly show us the people working in the factory, and they are working like machines. Their physical body literally becoming apart of the machines in the factory, and they are working just as hard as the machines themselves and this brings fatigue and depression to the human being. We are not machines, but the industrialisation brought this unnatural system of working into the world.

The man with the movie camera shows in a more real and adventurous way the actual footage of people working like robots, from morning to the afternoon, doing the same thing over and over again. He is showing people from all kinds of different walks of life becoming part of this system. These machines and technologies that require humans to operate and control them, but we are now shown the way in which this has changed the way humans work. They work just as if they are apart of the machine, doing routines the whole day over and over.

1.2. “The camera introduces us to unconscious optics as does psychoanalysis to unconscious impulses”.
How does this statement by Walter Benjamin relate to each film?

Again I am going to talk about each film separately.

Metropolis is a silent film that was shot in 1927, I could be corrected on this I’m not absolutely sure. Some of the optics the audience experience is that of the camera movement, and I’m sure that at the time this film was released the audience was not that used to the conventional camera angle and the role they played. They used allot of fast pacing movement, where the frame rate at which the camera was shot was lower, but they played it at the normal speed, then it seemed faster. These movements and close up’s and all the things that are done by the camera, make us feel a certain way and make us relaxed or tense. They also grab our attention and pull us into the film, making us aware of the terror and tension the film has created.

The man with the movie camera has made this film in various types of speeds, movements, has brought us close to the real action. He shot allot of different places, people and events. He changes his film movement from fast paced to slow paced shots from long shots to close up’s. He even brought in animation, but the overall theme for me was very fast paced moving images. Everything just flew past me. This variety of images has made me energetic and tired at the same time. Energetic, because there were so many images flying past and tired because it felt that I’ve worked because of all this movement.

1.3. Similarities and differences in each film’s visual treatment and representation of Capitalism and Socialism.

Firstly I am going to compare socialism between the two films, then I’m going to discuss the capitalism between them.

In metropolis they introduce us to the socialist state. All these workers, all these men have no other choice but to work in this type of environment. In this industrialised state that has become one big machine, so all the people have no choice, but to operate on these machines, becoming apart of the machines. Metropolis strongly states this by showing us the steam coming out of the building. In the same way The man with the movie camera shows us all the different people that are locked inside this system of a socialist state. He strongly makes us aware of that fact by showing us a fast paced piece of the people in the streets and trains walking past like ants, following blindly the rules of the state.

Metropolis also suggests a capitalist state, because the son rejects his father and follows his own way. The father himself is a business man with his own business.
The man with the movie camera himself is a business man and entrepreneur with allot of creativity and ambition. So in that sense he shows himself as a person who believes in capitalism, but shows himself living in a socialist state. There are a few places in the film where he shot himself shooting other people, for example when he stood on the car shooting the car next to him.


Firstly I’m going to explain what I see in the movie “I, Robot” to be parallel to the movie “metropolis”. Then I’m going to compare parts and show the meaning of those parts.

The movie I Robot was an interesting movie to me. It brought us forth to the age where we can buy our own robot and brought the ultimate meaning of ‘the machine’ forth. Something that can do anything that human can, now that sounds like ‘the machine’ to me. Then the movie shows us that this thing we have created, this thing that was supposed to help us and make our lives more comfortable and to really improve our life has turned against us. Suddenly there were fatalities and the robots started killing people, they created war against us the very people who created them. The first robot to have killed anyone was a new version, that new version was made to feel emotions and they were controlled by an evil source. The brain was this red looking thing that stood between buildings.

So I think the first relation between the two films is the parallel of the human body and the machine. In metropolis they show us the industrialisation that was supposed to help us as people, to make our life a better place. We built machinery and technologies to help us to do certain things, achieve certain goals. Then as metropolis so clearly shows us, the machines start deteriorating our spirits and the machines turns towards us and starts killing us as human beings. We are no a slave to the machine and must work as hard as they do, because we must operate on them, so the machines started swallowing and killing the workers. The people started war on each other and on the machines, they want the machines dead. So you can see the relation between those two movies, they both created machines to help them and eventually the machines gave them death and ultimately war.

The son in metropolis was the only one from the management to see what was really going on in the machines. He came to the realisation that the machines were killing the people and he came to tell his father about it and he simply ignored that fact. The same with I Robot, where the main character played by Will Smith was the only one to suspect these ‘machines’ and he fought against them and he had seen all the wrong they were doing to the humans. He also went to the head of the company who produced these robots, but they were na├»ve and ignored his claims. Eventually they knew they went too far by creating these new versions with emotions, and they saw where it ended. The same ending as in Metropolis, the father saw that he has made a disaster out of the whole operation.

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