Vancouver Premiere of the New Restoration!
The Most Complete Metropolis since 1927!
25 Minutes of Lost Footage Restored!
PRESENTED IN HIGH DEFINITION! ► Cinephiles and critics were in ecstasy when this glorious new restoration of Metropolis debuted at the Berlin International Film Festival earlier this year. Pacific Cinémathèque is pleased to present, in High Definition, its Vancouver premiere. Fritz Lang’s dystopian science-fiction epic is one of cinema’s great visionary masterpieces, and one of the classic films of German Expressionism. An eye-popping marvel of mammoth geometrical production design and magnificent special effects, Metropolis is set in a glittering city-state of the 21st century. While the privileged masters of this polis frolic in the futuristic paradise above, the downtrodden workers toil robot-like in the grim subterranean factory city below, succoured by saintly Maria (Brigitte Helm), who urges them to shun revolution and wait patiently for the arrival of a Mediator. The plot has the ruling tyrant and a mad scientist conspiring to replace Maria with a robot doppelgänger. Inspired by Lang’s first glimpse of the Manhattan skyline, Metropolis was a super-production of truly massive proportions: the size of its budget was unprecedented, its cast numbered over 37,000, and it took more than 16 months to shoot. Always and in any form a monumental work of exhilarating filmmaking (well, maybe not in Giorgio Moroder’s misguided schmaltz-rock ‘restoration’ of 1984), it is even more astounding in this brilliant new reconstruction, offering up the most complete and authentic Metropolis seen in eight decades. “For years audiences have wondered how good this film might have been had it not been edited. It turns out that it’s better than anyone could ever have expected” (Kaleem Aftab, The Independent). “The classic of the genre, unparalleled in scope and ingenuity until Kubrick’s 2001” (Phil Hardy, Science Fiction). B&W, HDCAM, silent with English intertitles and musical score. 147 mins.
The New Restoration
Fritz Lang’s 153-minute integral version of the Metropolis premiered in Berlin and Nuremberg in 1927, but was then drastically cut for international release and never seen again; for years, most circulating copies ran about 90 minutes. A significant reconstruction in 2002 saw the restoration of 40 minutes of previously lost footage and the addition of a new 60-piece orchestral recording of the original 1927 score. That version — showcased several times at Pacific Cinémathèque — brought the running time up to about 80 percent of Lang’s original. “This is as definitive as it can get,” said the archivist who led the 2002 restoration. “There is no more footage.” Except there was! In 2008, a 16mm dupe negative of Metropolis was discovered in a Buenos Aires archive. The print was substantially longer than any known extant version of Metropolis; in fact, it contained an additional 25 minutes (some 1257 shots) of footage thought lost — about a fifth of the film, including missing scenes and excised subplots. It also provided a more definite guide to Lang’s original edit and narrative structure, long a matter of conjecture. After careful restoration work, this newly-discovered material (identifiable because it is more worn and scratchy) was integrated into the 2002 restoration, creating a 147-minute version that matches, as closely as possible, Metropolis as Lang intended it.
"This Metropolis will transform our image of a great cinematic classic."Sight and Sound | full review
"Stunning . . . One of the mythical Holy Grails of MIA movies . . . Adds even more depth to a delirious, dreamlike class parable whose dystopia stills feels exhilaratingly modern."Time Out New York | full review
"Metropolis lives! . . . In many respects a new film, neither smothered by overfamiliarity nor butchered by cutting . . . For the first time since 1927, Metropolis exists."Film Comment | full review