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Metropolis Futurism & the Machine

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Frank McKee

on 27 February 2017

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Transcript of Metropolis Futurism & the Machine

Fritz Lang's
Metropolis (1927)

"Generally considered the first great science-fiction film, "Metropolis" (1927) fixed for the rest of the century the image of a futuristic city as a hell of scientific progress and human despair."
Roger Ebert

"Metropolis's staggering architectural scale and syncopated near-musical choreography still seem surprisingly contemporary in an age that has far from tired of seeing the future in harshly dystopic terms."
Village Voice (2010)

Futurism
The Futurist Manifesto (1909) / F. W. Marinetti

The Manifesto of Futurist Architecture (1914) / Marinetti & Sant'Elia
"The city had replaced the landscape as the setting for the excitement of modern life."
"Street Lamp" (1909)
Balla
Marinetti:
"Let's murder the moonlight."
"The Street Enters the House"
Futurist dynamism
Boccioni
"Bludgeon the old."
The city as avatar of Futurists' obsession with
speed, dynamism, and destruction
Sant'Elia
City = Modern (Futurist) views
Rejects history
"[W]e shall sing the . . . tidal waves of revolution in the modern metropolis; shall sing the vibrating nocturnal fervor of factories and shipyards burning under violent electric moons . . ."
Marinetti, Futurist Manifesto
The Gaze
The "Vamp"
Femme Fatale
The Machine in the Garden
City of the Sons
Eternal Garden
The Machine
Machine--Man
From the Vertical City to the Depths Below
Metropolis
The Machines
Workers' City
Catacombs
Metropolis
Theda Bara
The femme fatale was a common figure in the European literature and art, often portraying the dangers of unbridled female sexuality. Traditional view portrays the femme fatale as a sexual vampire; her charms leech the virility and independence of lovers, leaving them shells of themselves.
Jonathan Schroeder notes, 'to gaze implies more than to look at - it signifies a psychological relationship of power, in which the gazer is superior to the object of the gaze.'
Laura Mulvey: ‘pleasure lies in ascertaining guilt - asserting control and subjecting the guilty person through punishment or forgiveness’
Allegory
"Emblem Book"

Apocalyptic Imagery
Babel: The words used to glorify the tower's construction by its designers took on totally different, oppressive meanings to the workers. This led to its destruction as they rose up against the designers.
Moloch: Babylonian god--Moloch had associations with a particular kind of child sacrifice by fire. In the ritual parents offered their children as sacrifice to the god.
William Blake
"The Flight of Moloch"
The Whore of Babylon
The Two Marias
The Woman Clothed in the Sun
The Great Red Dragon
Metropolis, Apocalypse, & The Faerie Queene
Metropolis
The Triangle
Joh Frederson, Rotwang & Hel
Moral Allegory
Spenser
The Faerie Queene (1590)
Redcrosse Knight
Una
Duessa
Joh Fredersen, Freder, Maria
Triangle
Rotwang / Archimago
Spenser uses the character of Archimago as an allegorical representation on a moral and religious level. Archimago is a character whose purpose is to separate Red Crosse Knight, representing holiness, from Una, representing truth. Archimago represents, hypocrisy, as well as witchcraft and illusions.Archimago fills Red Crosse’s mind with illusions so that he might doubt the sanctity of Una.
Rotwang Archimago
Slaying the Dragon
Redcrosse, Arthur, & St. George
Parallel Images
Salvation:
Destroying the "Machine"
Freder & Georgy
Defeating Rotwang
Burning the "Witch"
Saving the Children
Freder:
It was their hands that built this city of ours, Father. But where do the hands belong in your scheme?

Joh Frederson:
In their proper place, the depths.
The Metropolis Case (2003)
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Metropolis (1984)
Georgio Moroder
"Blood from a Stone"
"Cage of Freedom"
Robot's Dance Scene
Scene Analysis
"Moloch"
Lang on the Inspiration for Metropolis
‘Metropolis, you know, was born from
my first sight of the skyscrapers of
New York in October 1924 [...] while visiting New York, I thought that it was the cross- roads of multiple and confused human forces, blinded and knocking into one another, in an irresistible desire for exploitation, and living in perpetual anxiety. I spent an entire day walking the streets. The buildings seemed to be a vertical sail, scintillating and very light, a luxurious backdrop, suspended in the dark sky to dazzle, distract and hypnotise. At night, the city did not simply give the impression of living: it lived as illusions live. I knew I should make a film of all these impressions.’
Architecture
Influence of Metropolis
Metropolis Restored
German with English subtitles
Full transcript