Through dystopiandepictions, Fritz Lang’s German expressionist film Metropolis (1927) andGeorge Orwell’s Swiftian satire 1984 (1949) critique their respectivesocio-political contexts, elucidating underlying anxieties of their times.
Thesetexts warn audiences that human values of individual liberty and freedom arejeopardised by flawed societies where repressive governments are prevalent.Specifically, Lang expresses the rapidly fluctuating, economically instablesocial milieu of the Weimar Republic, under stresses following WWI and theTreaty of Versailles, accentuating the consequences of rapid industrialisationand the schism between industrial capitalism and the underclass. Contrastingly,Orwell reflects upon a pessimistic vision of the future in response to the riseof totalitarian regimes following WWI and during WWIII. These texts cultivate acautionary message of the misuse of technology, the dangers of totalitarianismand hierarchical social class, critiquing the fears of oppressive regimes thatseek conformity; inhibiting autonomy of an individual.
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