Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Maschinenmensch & The Machine (2013)

The Machine is a 2013 British science fiction thriller film directed and written by Caradog W. James. It stars Caity Lotz and Toby Stephens as computer scientists who create an artificial intelligence for the military. The Machine won three BAFTA Cymru awards, Best of UK Film Award at Raindance Film Festival, and Achievement Against the Odds Prize by the British Independent Film Awards.

The Maschinenmensch (German for "machine-human") is a fictional character in Fritz Lang's film Metropolis, played by German actress Brigitte Helm in both its robot form and human incarnation. She is a gynoid (female robot or android) created by the scientist Rotwang. Named Maria in the film, and "Futura" in Thea von Harbou's original novel Metropolis, she was the first robot ever depicted in cinema.
  • The Machines speaks Persian/Farsi, Iranian language.
  • Costume designer Chrissie Pegg was given just two weeks to make 100 costumes with only £40 for each and had only one assistant.
  • Caity Lotz preformed all her own stunts for the movie, including the dance scene.
  • The "Military Base" scenes were filmed at Greenham Common, United Kingdom.

The Maschinenmensch has been given several names through the decades: Parody, Ultima, Machina, Futura, Robotrix, False Maria, Robot Maria, and Hel. The intertitles of the 2010 restoration of Metropolis quotes Rotwang, the robot's creator, referring to his gynoid Maschinenmensch, literally translated as ´Machine human´.

The Maschinenmensch is an archetypal example of the Frankenstein complex, where artificial creations turn against their creator and go on a rampage. Artificial beings with a malevolent nature were a popular theme at the time, as seen in films such as Der Golem or Marcel Lherbier's L'Inhumaine. In a once-missing part of the film, Rotwang explicitly instructs the robot to pervert Fredersen's orders and help bring down his worst enemy, which helps explain her destructive behaviour. Different incomplete restorations of the film made since the original offered different explanations of the robot's behaviour (one, for example, saying that Rotwang has in fact lost control of the robot and it is not under anyone's control), or no explanation at all. The 2010 restoration, complete for all practical purposes, depicts Rotwang deliberately instructing the robot Maria, thus finally clarifying the gynoid Maria's motivation.

In the end, after the gynoid Maria has incited the workers to riot, destroy the city's machines, which causes the subterranean worker's city to flood, the workers believe it has caused their children to die by drowning in the flooded city. They capture gynoid Maria and burn her at the stake, though it reverts to mechanical robot form just before its destruction.

The Maschinenmensch's appearance and concept has influenced many artists over the years. It was depicted on the 1977 album Live! In The Air Age by Be-Bop Deluxe. The still displayed on the album is of the climactic scene where the soul of Maria is being installed into the robot and rings of light are circling around the robot's body. Heavy metal band Y&T's 1985 album Down for the Count has a cover illustration depicting the robot being held by Count Dracula as he prepares to sink his fangs into her neck. German band Kraftwerk's 1978 album Die Mensch-Maschine is a clear reference to the film and has a track titled "Metropolis."

The 1982 film Blade Runner, which took heavy inspiration from Metropolis, also borrows the theme of Machines that are indistinguishable from Humans, that is, robots in human-appearing android and gynoid form. All three female characters in Blade Runner, and several males, are robots.

North Utsire

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