Metropolis ★★★½

-- Blind Spot April 2015 --

I keep wondering how the dystopian future films and novels of our generations will be perceived in a few decades from now. Will they seem as timeless as they often look to us, the first people to watch them? Or will they blatantly wear the label '2010s' on them, well-made and creative as the stories themselves may be?

Metropolis is a movie that's both exceptionally ahead of its time and also as 1920s as it gets. The futuristic city that the story is set in is probably more 1920s than any real city was at that time. The sharp angles, the edgy contrasts and the glamorous yet simple costumes bring the style of the decade to new heights. However, for a 3h+ silent film, this futuristic epic rarely loses its fast pace and is yet another proof that there is always a new ingenious way to interpret the most simple stories. Of course, thematically, the film centers around class division - more specifically: oligarchy. Much like in the industrialization, the infrastructure depends on a huge lower class that works to live and dies to work. Meanwhile, the upper 500 or so indulge in food, technology and fashion. The division between the two classes is as so often not only mental but also physical; the proletariat works and rests in the dirty, hidden tunnels of the city, while the elite resides and parties on the shimmery surface of Metropolis. Long before James Cameron was born, Fritz Lang connects these two worlds with a love story - the mayor's son Freder falls in love with angelic and spiritual Maria. That's where the sci-fi (and the iconic posters) come in to play, for the Inventor has found a way to construct a robot and make it take any human's form. Of course, this 'Machine Man' must now adopt the looks of Maria in order to stop the upcoming revolution and crush Freder's love.

Most people know that I'm not a huge fan of silent films - that's one of the reasons why I'm watching so many for this year's blind spot series. A few of you have suggested watching Metropolis to me, as it should be a very different experience from most other silents, and you were right! Much like Sunrise (though nothing will ever beat that one I think), Metropolis tells a universal story in simple yet astonishing images and never bores the audience with the less appealing part of ancient filmmaking customs. It's a gorgeous and very entertaining film that makes me want to watch the 1980s revisited version a lot.