Friday, September 17, 2010

Metropolis in the Irish Film Institute

I went to see Metropolis this week in the Irish Film Institute. Made in Germany in 1927, directed by Fritz Lang this is one of the high points of what we call "silent movies". It's silent only in that there is no dialogue. The soundtrack is a new recording of the original score which is wonderful. This is a restored version of the film with newly discovered material added.

If you think silent movies mean only silly cops running madly around or a poor tramp trying to win the girl then go and see this. Great sets, great special effects, over 30,000 extras and a dark vision of the modern world. It has elements of Soviet revolutionary films (I've never seen so many flights of stairs in a film and crowds of almost-liberated workers rushing up and down) the Hunchback of Notre Dame, Tim Burton's Gotham City, a mad scientist and an evil robot. And there is a tender love story as well.

Metropolis was the grandest, most spellbinding spectacle of 1920s silent European cinema and is still worth seeing. It's long though but after the first hour you just get caught up in the mad rush, the implausible storylines and the brilliant imagery and imagination.

Reviews here and here and here. You can see some of it on Youtube but it's not the same. Needs to be seen on the large screen.

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