Norden, Martin F. "The Avant-Garde Cinema of the 1920s: Connections to Futurism, Precisionism, and Suprematism." Leonardo 17.2 (1984): 108-12.
In this book, Martin Norden discusses the ways in which Futurism, Cubism, and Precisionism appear in film. Taking into considerations films of the 1920s, Norden discusses how each of these movements have influenced films and the ways in which one would be able to spot the attributes of these movements in film. Going into detail into what constitutes each of these artistic factions, Norden offers a unique way for viewers to pick up on directors’ subtle use of set designs in order to convey a message latent in the film.
Metropolis’s set design, specifically its city landscape, utilizes two of these movements to help Lang further his theme of the overbearing upper-world versus the underbelly where the workers thrive. Futurism and Precisionism both come into play in the ways in which Lang conveys the city, helping pronounce how the juxtaposition of the architecture movements between the futuristic metropolis and the ancient ruins of below reveal the individual motivations of the working class and the ruling class. Futurism shows up in much of the working class world, giving the workers an almost mechanical motion taking the humanity out of them. The very place in which they work is built around the idea of Futurism, having the machines have very intricate and specific designs, symbolizing the very jobs of the workers. Precisionism, an American idea of using sharp geometric shapes in the city landscape, is also very prominent in Metropolis. This movement adding an aspect of passionless intent to the upper-world, the sharp design of most of the buildings reveals a character attribute of the cold, heartless rulers of this world.