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ERIC Number: ED312706
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1978
Pages: 6
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
"Metropolis," The Lights Fantastic: Semiotic Analysis of Lighting Codes in Relation to Character and Theme.
Roth, Lane
Fritz Lang's "Metropolis" (1927) is a seminal film because of its concern, now generic, with the profound impact technological progress has on mankind's social and spiritual progress. As in many later science fiction films, the ascendancy of artifact over nature is depicted not as liberating human beings, but as subjecting and corrupting them. This theme is reflected in the film's treatment of three focal characters--Rotwang, Maria, and the robotrix--as well as in lighting codes that formally produce meaning within the filmic text. Aspects of the lighting involve value (lightness vs. darkness) and apparent on-screen source (artificial, e.g., electric light vs. natural, e.g., sunlight or fire). "Metropolis" advocates that mechanical marvels in themselves will not ameliorate the human condition. At the end of the film the rebirth of the whole city is heralded by a transformation of darkness to lightness. This comes about through natural light from the heavens: the dawn of the new day. The thematic antinomies of artifact/nature, identity lost/identity gained, evil/good, are resolved via the codes of lighting: dark/light,and ostensibly artificial/ostensibly natural. (NKA)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A