Man, Machine – Action!

By Louis Lefaix

Man, machine, Action! the cry of the director, as he calls to arms his main players in his unfolding celluloid story. Indeed, From Industry to Science-Fiction, man versus machine is an ongoing topic. Literally from when the first films were made content revolved from the Industrial Revolution all the way to AI. Sometimes with humour sometimes with terrifying effects. Machines have permitted us to make technological progress, including making films and are therefore partly the tools responsible for our success. The concept of machines overtaking humanity is a popular theme. Find out more about the expanse of this topic over the years of production

Obvious movies of the genre are Terminator and Matrix. But there are other films of this category, lesser known, but as important. Here are eight more interesting takes of the Man v Machine conflict:

Metropolis by Fritz Lang 1927

Considered the precursor to science fiction, Metropolis is a 1927 silent German science-fiction film directed by Fritz Lang. It depicts a futuristic urban state, in which the upper classes dominate the working classes who live and work ‘under’ the city. The workers operate massive machines and many die doing so. It’s the first movie to ever explore the concept of dystopia caused by technological advancements. It reflects the scepticism of many towards technology at the time. The set ideas were very much influenced by Antonio Sant’Elia an Italian futurist artist who lived a short, violent life but whose works were very influential.

Modern Times by Charlie Chaplin 1936

This 1936 part-talkie comedy film has a realistic take on the Man vs Machines conflict. It is the first film containing Chaplin’s voice, who plays a Little Tramp working on an assembly line. The piece is a commentary on the difficulties faced by workers during the Great Depression. It denounces the deplorable work conditions caused by the arrival of machines in factories. The machines dictating the pace, and workers struggling to keep up or being replaced. It is the reality of industrialization, the real-life Man v Machine. As much a comedy as a social comment of its time.

Alphaville by Jean-Luc Godard. 1965

This 1965 movie was written by Paul Eluard and Jean-Luc Godard. In this piece we see Agent Lemmy Caution dispatched on a secret mission in Alphaville, a dystopian metropolis in the depths of the galaxy. In this metropolis, the citizens are controlled by a computer. Agent Caution is on a quest to destroy the tyrannical machine. Alphaville reflected the worries of society at the time. Jean-Luc Godard was a French-Swiss film director, screenwriter, and film critic. known for being a pioneer of the French New Wave film movement of the 1960s rather than the teller of dystopian tales.

2001: A Space Odyssey by Stanley Kubrick 1968

This 1968 movie is celebrated for its innovation, it being ahead of its time and its visionary director Stanley Kubrick. The plot revolves around US space missions, after a period of signs of extra-terrestrial life or even superior pre-human intelligence. The film explores technological innovation and its risks. For instance, man creates machines but doesn’t fully comprehend them. In particular, the nuclear age is brought into question. The film was made and shown before man had even landed on the moon as this didn’t happen until 1969.

Blade Runner by Ridley Scott 1982

This 1982 Sci-Fi is set in a dystopian Los Angeles in the year 2019. “replicants”, humanoid robots, who were originally designed to aid society, have rebelled. These robots were then deemed illegal. Blade runners are a police unit that specializes in tracking down and destroying replicants. In the film, we follow Harrison Ford’s character Rick Deckard a retired blade runner who takes on the task of tracking down four illegal replicants on earth. It delves into the implications of technological advancements, like control over the environment or controls over the individual by genetic programming of the replicants. The film became cult and is regarded as one of the all-time best science fiction films. 

Tetsuo: The Iron Man by Shinya Tsukamoto 1989

This 1989 movie is a cyberpunk body horror. It follows a Tokyo man, whose body is slowly turning into metal. All the while he is tormented by a mystery man. The movie depicts an inversion of transhumanism. Instead of humans using technology as a way of advancing themselves, humans are used by rogue technologies. It is shot in the same low-budget, underground-production style that the director was known for initially.

Primer by Shane Carruth 2004

Primer is an independent science fiction film from 2004. It’s about the accidental discovery of time travel by two engineers who work from their garage. As expected, the invention ends up causing complications when they try to use it for gain. This is another case of a man using a technology that he has yet to fully comprehend. Noted for its extremely low budget, experimental plot structure, philosophical implications, and complex technical dialogue, Carruth, a college graduate with a degree in mathematics and a former engineer, chose not to simplify for the sake of the audience.

Finch by Miguel Sapochnik 2021

But sometimes machinery and technology can be presented in films as positive. Finch is a 2021 post-apocalyptic survival film, where the machine is allied to the man. The main character here, Finch, seems to be the only human survivor left on earth along with his dog Goodyear. But Finch is dying supposedly of radiation poisoning. He decides to create a robot to care for his dog when he dies. This robot is named Dewey, and he ends up making a great companion.

 But we must not forget that machines are tools that have worked hand in hand with man for the betterment of humanity. In fact, the progress that has brought us to where we are today is possible thanks to machines. Even if machines have replaced some occupations, computers have spawned new jobs, bringing new work that couldn’t have existed before. hence why we finished with a film that depicts the machine in a positive way, and let us see where AI takes us on the next part of this journey

If you enjoyed reading Man v Machine why not read Unique Portraits

.Cent Magazine London, Be Inspired; Get involved

Verified by MonsterInsights