the metropolis

The inaugural lecture by Mark Bould, University of the West of England on The Very Modern World of Fritz Lang (PDF) forms part of the inaugural Institute of Advanced Studies Lecture Series.

We went along as the Metropolis was screening after the lecture. We had seen an earlier version (1984) with music by Giorgio Moroder and were intrigued to see a restored longer version.

The lecture was very interesting, and although I am not familiar with the subject and terminology, I enjoyed the presentation immensely. Bould began his presentation with explaining the Frankfurt School, briefly covered Fritz Lang’s earlier work, then focussed on Fritz Lang’s career in America. The presentation included video and stills from Lang’s films to demonstrate the various film techniques and methods, and quotes from the works of Theodor Adorno for comparison and contrast. Fritz Lang was referred to as a member of the “pulp wing of the Frankfurt School”.

The Metropolis was played from a DVD, but I’m not sure what version it was that we saw. At two hours, it certainly was longer than the 1984 version, and I’m pretty sure I saw 2004 alongside the music credit at the beginning.

One scene that I liked was when the camera focussed on the newly completed robot. The robot’s eyelids closing unevenly as if ‘she’ was waking up. They looked very odd, not winking but sultry.

It was good to see a more complete story, and I must admit without Mark Bould’s lecture prior to viewing the film, it could have been less interesting. Although I have read that film buffs were divided on the rock-and-roll soundtrack that accompanied the 1984 version, if my memory is correct, I enjoyed that version more because of the pumping of the music with the machines of the metropolis. But then again, it maybe that I was influenced by the music at that time as I definitely remember Queen and Adam Ant were featured in Giorgio Moroder’s soundtrack. It may be good to see the 1984 version again for a better or near comparison.


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