Director: Fritz Lang

1927. Restored version| 2001. English subtitles. Black and white. Dolby stereo SR. 125 mins.

Few films from the glory days of silent cinema continue to exert as much fascination as Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, a science-fiction epic about a future society in which an elite group of industrialists rules over a working class banished to underground factories and power plants. A super-production of German cinema of the late 1920s, the film’s ideas, scale, imaginative production design and special effects have exerted an enormous influence on popular culture. Even in 1927, Lang’s visionary epic was recognised as the most ambitious spectacle in the decade since D.W. Griffith’s Intolerance. Beyond the level of spectacle, the film represents a fascinating amalgam of ideas that were current in the ’20s. Capitalism, communism, old legends and a plethora of other ideologies are incorporated into Theo von Harbou’s sprawling scenario, so it’s not surprising that the film has always been open to a variety of interpretations. But there’s also no denying the power and clarity of Lang’s visual designs, which are more effective than ever in this recently restored version.

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