Saturday, January 15, 2011

Metropolis (Fritz Lang)

The futuristic whore of Babylon.

Film Review Archive (date seen: September 25, 2010)

Now, who would say that limitless imagination can only be met by advanced special effects? Made in 1927 by Fritz Lang, "Metropolis" is a relentless early science fiction masterpiece. But the praise and influence haven't stopped in the confines of the silent era; instead it surpassed that seminal border to also become one of the best films of all time.

Aside from it being one of the foundations of the genre, it has ever since been the most commonly followed blueprint both in visuals and themes when filmmakers and writers formulate a derived dystopian universe. Yes, the film techniques used in the film were of course dated, but witnessing such effects and conceptual scale in a time period where even such things can't still be imagined, it's still an image to behold, appreciate, and inspire awe from its immense beauty in all its silent, black and white glory.

I also admire how Fritz Lang has interwoven the sci-fi bits with apocalyptic symbolism and Marxist themes, making "Metropolis" not just a technical masterwork from the silent era, but also a consistently layered film filled with varied evocative emotions from the simplest idea of love and brotherhood to the most anarchic feeling of doom. "Metropolis" has succeeded to hit the right criteria not just of a 'great' silent film, but of all films as a whole.

Unlike other films of the era which only served as fading brush strokes of aged masters of the craft, "Metropolis" still stands tall, up in a tower as tall as that of Babel. But unlike the parable that surrounds it, everyone's on one clear understanding regarding "Metropolis": A phenomenal treasure of world cinema and an early example of imagination at the peak of its creative powers.


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