Free Special Screening of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis with 25 Mins of extra Footage (1927)
Mary Immaculate College (500-seat large screen auditorium) Lime Tree Theatre
Monday, 14th March 2011 at 6.30pm.
There were over 250 people at Mary Immaculate College for this special free screening. The event was organised by the Mary I Film Club with the support of the Goethe Institut. It’s quite a unique event as the Film Club were granted permission to screen the film in the new theatre, which from next year on will only be used for paying events. The version of the movie that was shown is a digitally restored version of the film. This contained over 20 minutes of missing footage which was only found in Buenos Aires in 2008 and was lovingly restored by the German Government. While it was shown in Ireland last year did not make it to Limerick.
It was opened by Derek Scally the German correspondent for the Irish Times newspaper who gave a brief outline of the film and its recent background. This film is a must see for not only the film student but also for the film buff. It contains all the elements of what any acclaimed modern film has; like greed, a flood, intrigue, a mad scientist, damsel in distress, betrayal, passion, love, mass murder and robots. Yet there is something more pure and emotional about a black and white silent film that seems to get lost in today’s blockbusters.
Having seen the film before without the extra footage and on a small screen, this was an absolute treat for me. Though I had high expectations and this did not disappoint. From the off we were in lavish warm surroundings on a cold night watching a film, which was a great start. As the length of the film is over two hours long you needed the nice soft seats or else you won’t be able to walk afterwards.
Once the film started it became obvious which bits were the missing pieces, as they were grainier than the rest of the footage. To be honest after awhile this didn’t matter as the narrative made more sense now, then when I first viewed it. The film tells the story of a futuristic city which is sharply divided between the working class and the city planners. The son of the city’s mastermind falls in love with a working class prophet who predicts the coming of a saviour to mediate their differences. It offers stark warnings to those who pursue capitalism, which in fairness is a theme which is very relevant today. As if they film wasn’t enough there was also an animated discussion afterwards.
Overall this is a striking film which is noted for having influenced the cinematic view of the future of humanity and possibly every science fiction film thereafter. For its day it was a massive undertaking, as it had a huge budget, masses of extras and large scale sets, still it was a critical flop. Yet it has inspired such films as Jean-Luc Godard’s Alphaville, Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, Luc Besson’s The Fifth Element, even George Lucas’s Star Wars and the Wachowski brothers’ The Matrix. It is also remembered as having featured in the Queen video for their mega hit ‘Radio Gaga’.
So what this film geek recommends that if it comes to a cinema near you it is well worth a look!