The Film "Metropolis" By Fritz Lang

The paranoia and uncertainty that rose from the events during the late 19th to the mid 20th century gave birth to modernism as a way of perceiving and recognizing reality’s every virtue and shortcomings. Through the book The Undiscovered Self written in 1958 by Carl Jung and the film Metropolis directed in 1931 by Fritz Lang, the possible consequences of these shortcomings are magnified in both a psychological and provocative way. “The mass crushes out the insight and reflection that are still possible with the individual, and this necessarily leads to doctrinaire and authoritarian tyranny.

In The Undiscovered Self, Carl Jung expresses his apprehension of the growth of mass mindedness, which he states to be the reduction of individuals to mere hive minded units of humanity, existing only to be manipulated by propaganda and fulfilling whatever is required of them by those in power. In his time this was mainly evident in the Soviet Union but it is seen in western societies as well.

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While sharing similar notions, Fritz Lang presents he’s in a different way. Metropolis is a film which places its setting in a dystopian futuristic world. Metropolis is a city where the towers rise high in the sky, similarly to what New York looks right now. But meanwhile, down below these skyscrapers which are occupied by the wealthy elite are the ghastly workers running on 24 hour schedules that keep the city going and the elites safely separated from the horrors of which they are oblivious of.

However, there is one man who governs the two distinct classes.

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That man is John Frederson, a businessman and politician who’s daily routine is to dictate what the workers do. This reality in Metropolis is the reality Carl Jung envisioned where the mass crushes out the insight and reflection of the individual and leads to authoritarian tyranny. The workers are depicted as of brainwashed faceless units This brings me to my second point, what caused this society to fall to what it is now? Metropolis is the culmination of the shortcomings society experienced during the industrial revolution, it is the worst conclusion humanity could reach in its relentless pursuit of technological advancement and satisfying the endless needs of consumerism.

Although not shown, we can interpret that the humanity in metropolis sacrificed its virtuous nature and ethics to achieve this. The workers ultimately lose their personalities, their individuality and become dehumanized parts in a machine that have no basic needs of existence. “The State has taken the place of God; that is why, seen from this angle, the socialist dictatorships are religions and State slavery is a form of worship.” Similarly but dissimilarly to Metropolis.

Updated: Feb 22, 2024
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The Film "Metropolis" By Fritz Lang. (2024, Feb 20). Retrieved from

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