deadCenter Review: ‘Metropolis’
“Metropolis” 2010 Restoration
Directed by Fritz Lang
Easily the premier film of this year’s deadCenter Film Festival, “Metropolis” is the kind of film that just has to be seen on the big screen. Now, with 25 minutes of previously lost footage found, restored and added to the film, it takes on an even more epic quality, and finally feels like a film fully realized.
A 16mm dupe negative of this uncut version was discovered in film archives in Buenos Aires in 2008. Extensive restoration was needed for the inferior elements, but they stand up fairly well against the rest of the film despite their still quite-scratched condition. Due to these scenes existing only on the smaller 16mm format, they remain smaller to preserve the aspect ratio.
Lang’s tale of class struggle and technological disillusionment is one of the great cinematic dystopias, with a towering Modernist city brought to life using a whole host of innovative special effects, including the insanely intricate Schüfftan process. Both the operation of the city and mankind itself works like a machine in the film — lower-class workers move stiffly and rhythmically like moving parts of an assembly line, while large masses of people (the film employed nearly 40,000 extras) move in unison like some overwhelming collective mind.
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