Monday, 13 September 2010

Metropolis (1927)

On Friday evening, I watched Fritz Lang's Metropolis, restored and reconstructed, at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA). The film is considered one of the most important and influential films in world cinema history. I remember one of my university professors in Greece referring to it during a lecture. I always wanted to see it, and it seems that my timing was perfect, as it is now shown fully restored and reconstructed, after the completion of a painstaking procedure which started with the discovery of a 16mm reduction negative in the archives of the Museo del Cine in Buenos Aires, Argentina,  in July 2008.

The film is very impressive on all its levels:
*The visual effects are phenomenal, considering the time it was made. I have watched Hollywood blockbusters, which have failed to amaze me, especially when compared to this masterpiece. The most remarkable of the special effects of the flim was the Schüfftan process, in which mirrors are used to "place" actors inside miniature sets. Being linked to German Expressionism, the film also presents influences by Modernism and Art Deco. It is a great proof of my belief that one needs inspiration and vision, in order to achieve wonderful accomplishments.
*The original score, composed by Gottfried Huppertz, accompanied the film in the best possible way. It expressed the sentiments the actors demonstrated in a beautiful way.
*The actors were amazing, very expressive, as their face and body were their only acting tools, since Metropolis is a silent film. I found Brigitte Helm, in particular, very impressive. She had the double role of Maria/Machine Man (woman rather).
*The story is very interesting, albeit it can get a bit confusing and tiring at times. The twists in the plot are many, and there come moments when you get frustrated by the mix-up in what is true and what false. The film was written by Lang and his wife, Thea von Harbou. The two wrote the screenplay in 1924, and published a novelisation in 1926, before the film was released.

The scenes with the workers working like robots underground, in order to maintain the vision of the 'Metropolis', were amazing and unforgettable. The scene were the Machine-Woman was dancing, with all the men getting crazy about her, impressed me. Undoubtedly, Metropolis offered me a wonderful cinematic experience.



  1. After reading your post I really want to find the time and see it!
    Even the trailer leaves you amazed! I can't even imagine how the movie will be!
    Truth is that Metropolis is a movie that has been referenced many times in the academic cycles. Even in my feminism lecture my tutor used it as an example when we talked about cyborgs.
    So, can't wait!

  2. You should watch the film sometime. Let me know when you do so. I am sure you will appreciate its artistic elements.