The darker side of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis : coloniality in modernist cinema

Golding, David (2019) The darker side of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis : coloniality in modernist cinema. Postcolonial Studies, 22 (3). pp. 303-324. ISSN 1368-8790

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This article situates one of the most influential modernist films, Metropolis (1927), in its relationship to coloniality. The film reflects the Weimar aspiration to recover Germany's place within modernity by securing the boundaries of the colonial difference. More broadly, it elucidates modernity's internal narrative in that it mythically envisions a modernity cleansed of coloniality. Considering that modernity is constituted by coloniality, this paper traces the coloniality from which the film's spiritual anxieties originate. The vertical geography of Metropolis spatialises the relationship between modernity and coloniality as an interiority and exteriority. The spiritual iconography that proliferates throughout the film is haunted by an animist other. This colonial spectre ultimately emerges from modernity's exteriority to possess the commodity fetishes wielded by white men. When the dead labour within the commodities of modernity becomes reanimated through the agency of women and the colonised, both patriarchy and modernity are destabilised. By tracing these significant undercurrents of animist coloniality within the geography and narrative of Metropolis, this paper argues for the decolonial potential of further research that reconsiders modernist cinema and visual art from the perspective of coloniality.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Postcolonial Studies
Additional Information:
This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Postcolonial Studies on 23/06/2019, available online
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? historypolitical science and international relations ??
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Deposited On:
22 Jul 2019 10:40
Last Modified:
17 Feb 2024 00:55