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Representation of Women


The role of Maria is an important one, both in narrative terms and for developing the social and political themes of the film. The contradictory duality of Maria’s character could make an interesting focus for both an exploration of the position of women in Weimar society, and how women are represented on screen.

Robot Maria’s sexuality captivates the men of the city to fatal effect, and her influence to mobilise the people of the Workers’ City is catastrophic. In contrast, Real Maria’s associations with religion are arguably representative of old order and maintaining the status quo. In both cases, Maria is represented as an agent of desire, power, and voyeurism.

Sequence analysis

Watch this sequence, which shows the creation of Robot Maria, and answer the following sequence analysis questions making specific reference to elements of film language and mise en scène:

  1. How does this scene suggest
    1. changes to roles of women in Weimar society, and
    2. how women are traditionally represented on screen?
  2. What is the role of Rotwang in the scene? What/who may Rotwang be representative of?
  3. In what ways does the conflicting role of both Robot and Real Maria contribute to the wider social significance of the film?
  4. Towards the end of the sequence, Robot Maria looks directly into the camera. What may be suggested here in terms of
    1. the male ‘gaze’, and
    2. agency?