Friday, July 22, 2011

Dystopia

This 1927 German Expressionist classic was a "Bladerunner" for the silent film generation. The movie offers a futuristic view of industrialized life heavy with anti-capitalistic commentary, art deco production design and heavy Biblical symbolism. The film comments on the inevitable class divide of modern cities between oppressed workers and the political bourgeoisie. Supposedly, Metropolis was one of Adolf Hitler's favorite movies. The nazis considered the film a social blueprint which is ironic since the film's director Fritz Lang was Jewish. The screenplay was written by Lang's wife Thea Von Harbou who later became a passionate member of the nazi party (causing Lang to divorce her). When the nazis took power in 1933, Fritz Lang fled to America. Despite the controversial political bent, Metropolis remains a sc-fi classic with groundbreaking special effects, more than 37,000 extras and a unique view of the future of world cities. Fritz Lang stated that "the film was born from my first sight of the skyscrapers in New York in 1924." The lead female robot in the film inspired the look for C-3P0 in Star Wars. The movie also inspired the creators of Superman to name their city "Metropolis." The way to view this film is with a live organist in a vintage theater. A couple vodka martinis beforehand wouldn't hurt.  (5" x 7", black ink print)

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