The New Tower of Babel in Metropolis
In The Gardens of Metropolis
Between the hands of labor
and the head of tech a chasm dwelt
awaiting some tree-like paroxysm
of nature: a mediator to intercede -
to plant itself within the yawning gap
left fallow within the gardens:
first the kabbala of Rotwang
gave a fruit - the largest of the family,
colour pale next to wall,
colour red next to sun,
set in clay and sprung to life,
a golem like narcissos,
obedient to a malady of Hel
where an entire branch of
a summer day will die;
the fruit has a bitter kernel.
second the living and dying god
given to excessive growth as is seen
in maiden plants set in new made borders,
saddle-grafted onto old root stock:
October - bane of Freder - the time
to disburden a tree of fruit
and whip him with a light birch broom,
the straight switch, or the sturdy cane
to remove decaying leaves
to encourage wood's ripening
and maturation of blossom-buds
in next year's spring...
if spring does arrive!
third mutation yet unimagined!
a forcing garden to compel
by artificial means a cultivation
of fruits unnative to these climes;
in houses built of metallic mixtures,
as iron cased with copper, which
produce expansive force unequal
which tends to break
the hothouse glass
in consequence of a twisting
and a torsion
and a racking
in the bars wrought-iron...
so do machine men:
iron boys and iron maidens,
try to gather rosebuds,
but all is liable to rust!
Brought on by viewing the most recent and updated version of Fritz Lang's Metropolis on the night of June 19 2010.
Posted early since I'll be traveling to D.C.
Lang and Thea von Harbou, the writer, told a tale of society where there was antagonism between the hands - labor - and the head - technology & administrative science. It was a tale based on the history of the Industrial Revolution and the Technology revolutions leading into the 20th century. They saw that there must be a mediation between the head and hand, which would be the mediator, yet also the heart, even though "heart" and "mediator" were distinct entities in the film.
The possibilities were first: a type of medieval mysticism and Kabbala applied to science, Rotwang, the inventor, who had sacrificed his right arm in order to create a perfect android, a machine man or robot. He now wore a prosthetic arm covered by a dark glove, foreshadowing Dr. Strangelove, and Lionel Atwill as the village chief of police in Son of Frankenstein.
Second: a Christianity which was based totally upon the mediation of the dichotomy, seemingly leaving out all other doctrines. The Mediator would be an real man, Freder in the movie, and he would come forward in the fullness of time - apparently - and the golden age would be reached. Of course, a good deal of the City, particularly the workers' quarters, would have to be destroyed before this occurred.
Third: a surprise ending, which is actually what happened in Germany. The Mediator's followers became the Men at the dock at Nurnberg, and in the glass case in Tel Aviv.
The studio was UFA, by the way, which may or may not explain my sign in my other blog about OK, UFA!
Hel deceased mother of Freder, beloved of Rotwang. Also name of the Norse goddess Hel, a goddess of some of the dead.