depictions, Fritz Lang’s German expressionist film Metropolis (1927) and
George Orwell’s Swiftian satire 1984 (1949) critique their respective
socio-political contexts, elucidating underlying anxieties of their times. These
texts warn audiences that human values of individual liberty and freedom are
jeopardised by flawed societies where repressive governments are prevalent.
Specifically, Lang expresses the rapidly fluctuating, economically instable
social milieu of the Weimar Republic, under stresses following WWI and the
Treaty of Versailles, accentuating the consequences of rapid industrialisation
and the schism between industrial capitalism and the underclass. Contrastingly,
Orwell reflects upon a pessimistic vision of the future in response to the rise
of totalitarian regimes following WWI and during WWIII. These texts cultivate a
cautionary message of the misuse of technology, the dangers of totalitarianism
and hierarchical social class, critiquing the fears of oppressive regimes that
seek conformity; inhibiting autonomy of an individual.