After visiting New York for the first time in 1924, Austrian filmmaker Fritz Lang envisioned one of his most celebrated films remarking that “I looked into the streets – the glaring lights and the tall buildings – and there I conceived Metropolis.”[1] Set in 2026, the film’s screenwriter Theo van Harbou imagined a world, one hundred years into the future, in which the working class was relegated to a dismal, subterranean existence, literally the lowest of classes. Above ground, the upper class lived in skyscrapers, enjoyed leisure time, and traveled on elevated highways, pedestrian bridges, and airplanes. It is a story of corporate greed, deception, and treachery overcome by faith and love. It is also a story of the human inhabitants of the modern city overshadowed by tall buildings and moved by complex forces.

[1] Michael Minden and Holger Bachmann, Fritz Lang’s Metropolis: Cinematic Visions of Technology and Fear, (New York: Camden House, 2002): 4.

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