Is Fritz Lang’s Metropolis a film about a metrosexuality that nobody needs?
Does the film suggest urbanisation makes healthy life impossible?
In Fritz Lang’s cinematic story of one man’s giant industrial mega-city, the beautiful religious figure Maria, played by 18 year old BrigItte Helm, is pure and caring and gives hope to many people by her faith in fraternity and communication. But then Maria’s physical likeness is stolen to empower a robot who is first presented as an erotic dancer for the rich and who then, under orders, uses manic sexuality to lead people to conflict and destruction.
While still a movie star, BrigItte Helm told one critic that she didn’t care about making movies and she would rather be a housewife, cooking, bringing up her children and looking after her husband. She went to court at great cost to fight for the right not to be forced to play vamps and retired from cinema and moved to Switzerland in disgust at the Nazi takeover of the German film industry.
So in real life Helm wanted to be the motherly Maria not the destructive seductively malevolent dancing Machine imitating Maria.
In modern western nations the sexual liberation of the 1960’s and following decades has given way to the moralistic crusades of the #metoo movement which attacks and destroys men but not women for their sexuality.
Do we want a return to a much more conservative sexual morality imposed on men or do we want gender equal sexual freedom for everyone?
Right now I don’t think many people in The West know what we want with respect to that question.
BrigItte Helm had no doubts about how good it was for her to be a mum.
Geoff Fox, Malang, East Java, 10th January 2019, the 92nd anniversary of the release of Metropolis.