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Metropolis

By Eric Allen Hatch | Posted

Disappointed that you missed the much-ballyhooed restored version of Fritz Lang's 1927 masterpiece Metropolis during its brief Baltimore run? Here's your chance to pack the aisles. Lang's prescient dystopia posits an intricate megalopolis in which workers live and toil underground and the privileged few cavort atop skyscrapers in an oasis known as the Club of the Sons. Things begin to crack when a young member of the Aryan ruling class ventures into the Worker's City and ends up involved in a revolution. Lang's vision of the urban landscape as a cold, robotic über-organism struck the tone for innumerable subsequent science-fiction pictures; visually, his models and miniatures remain staggering, certainly exponentially more jaw-dropping in their time than, say, the computer-generated images of Minority Report are in ours. Since the original negative of Metropolis is no longer extant, this 2002 restoration, culled from several different prints, comes as close as we'll ever get to seeing the film as it premiered in 1927. It's a good moment to see it, for if Lang's film has a simple political message, it's that things get worse before they get better--and that things don't get better by themselves.

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