Seeing Metropolis in the Metropolis!


I’ve been revising a manuscript that is out on submission to editors, and that’s going pretty well, but it’s really dull to talk about–hey, I removed this person’s motivation and bolstered that one’s–so I thought I’d talk about something really cool I experienced last night.

(And just realized this is our Anniversary Week, and totally forgot to stay on topic! But, you know, that’s par for my course, so there you go).

Metropolis was made in 1927 by Fritz Lang, a classic film revered by film buffs and critics and such. I knew of it, but had never seen it. So last night, in Prospect Park in Brooklyn, they showed the restored version of Metropolis while Alloy Orchestra played the soundtrack live. And I got to see it.

It was incredible. It’s hard to imagine this film was made twenty-three years before Akira Kurosawa–another ahead-of-his-time innovator, and one of the best directors ever–achieved accolades for Rashomon. Plus, even though it took place in some version of a mechanized future, it resounded with implications for the Regency world–at one point, there is mention of the Upper Ten Thousand–and the society’s stratification is ghastly and inviolate. Like the Regency’s could be, unless a governess rose above her station to fall in love with a duke, and vice versa.

The clip above is when the “Man-Machine” is given the form of a human, and brought to a high society nightclub to dance.

I would definitely have not enjoyed the movie so much if it weren’t shown in the park on a lovely summer evening with amazing music being played. But the movie does make you think about industry, and religion, and class structure, and mechanization, and all sorts of things. Plus, it looks really, really cool.

Megan
PS: I am glad to offer a copy of my long out-of-print book, A Singular Lady, to a randomly-selected commenter who says what their favorite dance scene is in a film.

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