Edward Scissor Hands and Metropolis on German Expressionism
- Pages: 7
- Word count: 1742
- Category: German
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Germal expressionist films matched the visuals in terms of darkness and disillusionment. Often somre in mood and featuring characters from a corrupt world, the films dramatic effects produced motifs of claustrophobia and paranoia. Expressioism is the movement in the fine arts that emphasized the expression of one’s inner self and their angst that soley beng realistic and fanboying about the world and lie.
Features typical of the expressionist style
Special features, narrative elements, style, codes and conventions, symbolism, lighting, character type. Deeper meaning cultural context, political and social Values and attitues and ideologies
Edward Scissorhands is one of the movies that is influenced by German Expressionism.
Burton uses his artistic reputation to adapt the structure and conventions of the traditional fairyatale to a contemporary American, suburban setting. Burton sets his story in a contemporary American suburb. He has given each generation represented in Edward Scissorhands its own system of symbolic shorthand representing the different ears they grew up in, different times associated with different tasted, each expressing a particular aestheic. The parents generation is characterized by familiar 50’s and 60’s icons; the confromist, consumer-led boom of those years represented by lava lamps, functional interiors and social rituals like the barbecue. The surrealist elements of expressionism can be seen in the setting. All the houses in the town are built in the same consistent shapes, arranged nearly along the entire road with their pastel palletes. The castle is dark, curved. There are also some trees with no leaves. All these unnatural realities is one of the styles of German Expressionism.
German Expressionism was an artistic movement that preceded World War 1 in Germany, and culminated in the 1920’s with Expressionist cinema. It was an extremely influential genre that showed cinema could be an art form, not just a source of entertainment. Expressionism tends to be characterized by showing the subconscious feelings of the characters and making them the surface of the work. The audience will be shown not what is strictly reality, but the character’s perceptions of how they perceive the current social situation. Germany at the time Metropolis was made (1927), has slowly recovered from the consequences of the First World War. Politically, socially and economically, Germany was crippled. The German people felt betrayed by their government, In Metropolis this is dictated by the portrayal of social figures. Lang depicts the authority figures as villains, to convey the sense that not only could you trusts the hierarchy you could not trust the people who represented you. Metropolis conveys a sense of skepticism towards industrialism, and the role that mechanics has played in our society. At the time of production, Industry was ever expanding in Europe and America. Workers in the lower city worked in rotating 24-hour shifts. The film reflects the disillusionment and uncertainty the German people felt about their leaders and their future.
There were great social repercussions from the First World War in Germany. There became frequent revolts on the streets, disruption from original order and a general sense of anxiety and dissatisfaction of the ruling powers. Lang utilizes Germany’s power struggles, the deteriorating economic position that brings up issues of poverty and conflict and the fears for the future through his use of an entirely constructed and heavily stylized futuristic landscape, filled with symbolism and metaphors to not only comment upon the political and social situations that existed in Germany, but to also serve as a warning to where Germany was heading. As Metropolis is critical of the drudgery of labour and Metropolis is critique of the sou-destroying drudgery of labour, but there is certainly no revolutionary message here. The clear message is ultimately a consrvative one, a plea for moderation, some kind o reasoned social-democracy, if only all sides got together and talked things would be so much better. Overall, the ilm suggests that problems arise when society no longer understands itself as a whole, when each section forgets that it relies on the other. Clear worry about the ease with which ‘the masses’ and the workers could be manipulated, and the elites could forget the working class.
The machines suggest that the machines we have made to work for us are now working us and we are being consumed by our own creations. Lang was against the Nazi’s, and was to leave Germany for America not soom after refusing the invitation to join the Nazi film industry. He continued to direct films. Despite the ultimately conservative message, the fim is clearly the product of a vast social and political imagination.
(Context of Metropolis – Germany)
– Metropolis represents and showcases struggles and problems that still plague our society to this very day – .
Though the nazi’s had not yet come to power, their socialist ideas of the worker versus the elite was a very common subject of contention in Germany. Messages regarding workers and the value of human life. Germany at the time had just slowly recovered from the consequences of the first world war. Just as their people, German Expressionist directors felt disillusionment with reality and the world around them. The economic situation of Germany was bad. Workers and pensioners fell victim to the policy of reparations and the sudden hyperinflation. German directors took their disillusionment one step further by having heavy and star shadows, depressed/dark stories and corruptible, unstable characters.
As German’s felt betrayed by their government after WWI had concluded, many directors portrayed authority figures as villans to convey a sense of how no one could be trusted in the world they were living. Metropolis conveys a growing sense of skepticism towards industrialism and the roles that society has played on its citizens. At the time of the film, industry was in full throtly within Europe and America. The proles in the lower city wored in large shifts that rotate 24 hours a day. The machines suggest that the machines we have made to work for us are now working us and we are being consumed by our own creations. Lang was against the Nazi’s, and was to leave Germany for America not soom after refusing the invitation to join the Nazi film industry. He continued to direct films. Despite the ultimately conservative message, the fim is clearly the product of a vast social and political imagination.
Revolts on the streets a general sense of anxiety and dissatisfaction with the ruling powers. Lang taps into Germany’s power struggles, issues of poverty and conflict, and fears for the future, using an entirely constructed and heavily stylized futuristic landscape filed with symbolism and metaphors to convey political messages. The films social preoccupations have been describes as a commentary on the political situation that existed in Germany at the time, but also serves as a warning of where Germany was headed in the future. Metropolis is critique of the sou-destroying drudgery of labour, but there is certainly no revolutionary message here. The clear message is ultimately a consrvative one, a plea for moderation, some kind o reasoned social-democracy, if only all sides got together and talked things would be so much better. Overall, the ilm suggests that problems arise when society no longer understands itself as a whole, when each section forgets that it relies on the other. Clear worry about the ease with which ‘the masses’ and the workers could be manipulated, and the elites could forget the working class.
Human life was already devalued in society before the Industrial Reolution, and now it was even more so. It was just a mater of time beore worldwife revold and rejection of such values. Steam and coal power had indeed allowed many not of the noble class to ascent in station but it also created a disparity between people and a dangerous work environment in which human life was valued much less than profit.
The film combines the beautiful futuristic visions of the city, with dystopian scenes of technology gone awry, and dark, expressionistic, and sometimes gothic imagery, such as the dancing figures of death and the seven deadly sins, and the mad inventor.
(Context of Edward Scissorhands)
Example of suburbs – Edward Scissorhands
Burton in this film communicates the dominant perspective that forcing others to conform to societal norms is a negatie, particually when the focus is on someone who is marginalized through no fault of their own. Edwards is a child of a well meaning inventor, however the Frankenstein sub-genre of film provides intertextuality that it is wrong and irresponsible to play got and create life. Therefore, from the start, Edward is constructed as an other within normality society. Although the intentions of those close to Edward are good, his destiny is to be marginalized. Burton constructs the discourse of changing a person’s individuality is bad, disabilities should not be ridiculed or discriminated and taking advantage of those who are challenged are wrong. (‘A monster with ah eart’ was one of the central themes of Frankenstein) Edward Scissorhands contains numerous stereotypical characters and the whole film satirises American society, a society whose values are as phoney as the cotton wool snow on the roof.
Female stereotypes –. We have the voracious man-eating middle-aged woman who lusts after Edward; the maternal acceptant Peg Boogs and the beautiful, virginal, adolescent daughter who eventually sees beyond Edward’s superficial oddities to the underlying goodness. The neuclear family; working father, Jim is the archetypal spoilt, rich brat who rebels in order to annoy his father. The Bogg’s family is utterly conventional in lifestyles and morality. Everything is so stereotypical because the film is a satire and, if it is not to be successful, a satire must present the audience with the recognizable. Example of Industrial City – Metropolis
Burton satirizes a society which is so uniform, complacent and unimaginative that is is unable to cope with someone or something different. Significantly, Edward discards the trappings of the suburban soviety (cutting off Peg’s clothes) which it is revealed to be corrupt, shallow and decadent and return to his castle, an environment which is ironically more natural and human that that of the suburbs. Burton inverts that more usual horror convention in that his ‘monster’ is essentially more human than the apparently normal characters.
The final image of Edward in the colourful garden, surrounded by nature and creativity reinforces the idea that American society is too sterile and narrow to cope with one who does not conform.