Metropolis depicts the view of the industrial city in post WWI Germany. During this period of time there was a vast difference between the wealthy and the poor because of the reparations incurred by Germany due to the war. The film Metropolis depicts the vast difference between the lower working class and elite upper class through cinematic symmetry and the portrayal of women. The use of symmetry in the frame composition of Metropolis created a mechanical effect. This effect was particularly used to emphasize the role of the lower working class.
The shots of the men working in the machines were always symmetrical and consisted of the men working with very repetitious and ridged movements. This, along with the way that the men were all dressed alike, caused the men to appear to be part of the machine and without any real qualities. Due to this the working lower class was depicted as having a menial and replaceable position. This was in contrast with the more natural looking shots of the upper class. The upper class wore different clothing dependant upon the person and moved fluidly. The way the upper class was portrayed as human like even further denigrated the working class.
Women were also portrayed as having a somewhat subjugated role in Metropolis. This was particularly true of the way that the upper class viewed women. The upper class always had women dancing around nearly naked for them. This was the only time women were even shown in relation to upper class males. Mr. Fredersen even had the Inventor duplicate a woman for him.
The duplication of Maria demonstrated that the upper class viewed women as nothing more than objects that are around for a specific function, like their precious machines. However, women were portrayed differently in relation to the lower class. The lower class women were portrayed in a much more modest fashion than those of the upper class. Due to this, they were also portrayed as being equal to men in the lower class. Even during the uprising both men and women went out together to come up against the man. Even beyond this apparent equality, Maria was the head of the religious cult of the lower class.
This prophetess is depicted as being free and intelligent because of the hard lighting that was put on her during her shots. She also wore higher quality clothing than the rest of the lower class, but was still much more modest than the upper class women. Women were, therefore, more valued to the lower class than the upper class. The portrayal of the lower working class as robotic depicts the functional view of society during the period of time in which Metropolis was produced. The way the two classes view women is also symptomatic of the need of these women by the two classes. Overall the film depicts the feelings of Germans that eventually allowed the rise of fascism..