Metropolis

Maschinenmensch

Metropolis is a 1927 German expressionist film in the science-fiction genre directed by Fritz Lang. Produced in Germany during a stable period of the Weimar Republic, ‘Metropolis’ is set in a futuristic urban dystopia and makes use of this context to explore the social crisis between workers and owners in capitalism. The most expensive silent film ever made, it cost approximately 5 million Reichsmark. The film was written by Lang and his wife Thea von Harbou in 1924, and published a novelization in 1926. Lang was influenced by the Soviet science fiction film ‘Aelita’ by Yakov Protazanov (1924), which was an adaptation of a novel by Alexei Tolstoy. The plot of ‘Aelita’ included a revolution taking place on the planet Mars. However, Metropolis advocates non-violent cooperation rather than the Marxist ideal of ‘class struggle.’

‘Metropolis’ was cut substantially after its German premiere, and much footage was lost over the passage of successive decades. There have been several efforts to restore it, as well as discoveries of previously lost footage. In 2008, a copy of the film 30 minutes longer than any other known surviving was located in Argentina. After a long period of restoration in Germany, the film was shown publicly for the first time simultaneously at Berlin and Frankfurt on February 12, 2010.

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