Germany; 1927; 147 min

Tuesday, July 11th at 19.00h CULTURE HOUSE CINEMA

Directed by: Fritz Lang
Written by: Thea von Harbou, Fritz Lang
Cinematography by: Karl Freund, Günther Rittau,
Walter Ruttmann
Original Music by: Gottfried Huppertz
Cast: Alfred Abel, Gustav Fröhlich, Rudolf Klein-Rogge,
Fritz Rasp, Theodor Loos, Brigitte Helm
Produced by: Erich Pommer
Production Company: Universum Film (UFA)
Genre: sci-fi, drama

Mitja Reichenberg

Metropolis is considered to be one of the most influential films of all time. Its portrayal of a dark future, characterized by a harsh division between the immensely rich and powerful on one hand, and the poor who are reduced to slavery on the other, warning us of the impending threat brought by our dependence on the technology which carries the risk of its acting autonomously, conveys a powerful message that still makes a strong impact, today perhaps even greater than in the past. More importantly, it nevertheless also brings us a ray of hope that true human values are able to emerge even under the most dreadful conditions.

The making of Metropolis was an immensely ambitious project at the time, the sets were huge, and many pioneering special effects were introduced for the first time. The shooting lasted over a year, and due to Fritz Lang's high expectations, the actors were put under tremendous pressure. Metropolis was not too warmly received by the critics at the time of its release and underwent cuttings, the result being that for the decades only heavily cut versions of it circulated. The most complete restoration of Metropolis so far is based on the print found in the Museum of Cinema in Buenos Aires. The restored version was released in 2010, with a running time of 147 minutes.

There are several reasons for presenting Metropolis at this year's edition of the Grossmann festival. The first, and most obvious, is that Metropolis is a classical science-fiction film and as such needs no special excuse to be screened at a festival dedicated to the genre cinema. The second, and more important, is the 90th anniversary of the premiere of this Lang's masterpiece. But there is even more to it, and it concerns the connection between Fritz Lang and Dr. Karol Grossmann, the pioneer of Slovenian cinema, after whom our festival is named. It is a proven fact that in 1915, during WW1, the young Fritz Lang, being a non-commissioned officer in the army of the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the time, had been staying for several months in the home of Dr. Grossmann, here in Ljutomer. Fritz Lang left behind some of his artwork, and though we know nothing of the discussions between these two men, both very cultivated, we'd like to imagine that cinema, dear to Dr. Grossmann and later the life's preoccupation of Fritz Lang, was one of the subjects they were talking about. Is there any better place for celebrating the 90th anniversary of Metropolis than at the festival, named after a man who was having Fritz Lang as his guest here, at his home in Ljutomer? For us, it is a cause for great celebration, and we are therefore proudly presenting Metropolis as the opening film of this year's Grossmann Festival.

Mitja Reichenberg, a renowned expert on film music, who authored several books and numerous articles on the subject, has a profound knowledge on the silent era film scores. He will be joining us with a live performance, accompanying Metropolis on the opening day of the festival.