The University of Colorado’s International Film Series at Muenzinger auditorium is showing Fritz Lang’s watershed film ‘Metropolis’ (1927) tonight at 7 pm only.
One of the most influential films of the 20th century, Lang inspired and shaped science fiction filmmaking with the undertaking of this monumentally significant piece.
Unfortunately for Lang and his wife, Thea von Harbou, author of the novel and the screenplay, ‘Metropolis’ was not a commercial success, which therefore signified to the cinema world that German Expressionism was over.
In the metropolis, or the giant mega city where nature does not really occur, there are two worlds, one in which the workers inhabit underground and the other where the upper class think and run the city up top in skyscrapers.
Marching to work with heads down the workers pile into elevators that take them miles beneath the surface of the earth in order to keep at “the machine”, one must always be at the machine’s side to insure the city they do not get to enjoy is in working condition.
Able to finally see the drudgery and unfairness of the city’s giant divide is none other than the Metropolis’s leader’s son, Freder, played by Gustav Frohlich.
Once Joh Freder, played by Alfred Abel, leader of Metropolis tells his son that the workers are where they belong, it causes Freder to go down and work in order to experience what the labor class does.
Working for ten straight hours leaves him even more angry and a fellow worker invites him to see the first woman in the film, Maria, played by Brigitte Helm, preach about peace between the huge class divide via the heart; what unifies the head and the hand is the heart.
Plagued by wanting to get rid of the necessity of the workers, Joh Freder enlists the help of a mad scientist to remodel his perfected human-like robot in to the form of Maria to incise the workers to mutiny and thus have their jobs terminated.
A critique of humanity surely exists within the framework Lang expertly put together as well as how civilized society can become unraveled when machines fail.
Even more, however, is the major underlining contemporary cautionary theme of how swiftly and deadly Fascism could and would travel through Europe at the time this film was released.
Extraordinary in its vision and depth no recent science fiction film comes close to its originality or brilliance.
Being able to see this restored film on a 35 millimeter projection is an experience not to miss!
To stay on top of independent films playing in Boulder be sure to click subscribe at the top of this page for email updates!