Lost cut of Metropolis premiering at Berlinale

Lost cut of Metropolis premiering at Berlinale
Photo: Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau Foundation
The original lost cut of Fritz Lang’s legendary 1927 silent film “Metropolis” – found last year in a Buenos Aires archive – will premiere at the Berlinale in February following its restoration, the film festival's organisers said on Thursday.

Some 83 years after its original debut, the classic movie will be shown at a gala presentation on February 12 at the Friedrichstadtspalast accompanied by a live performance of the original score by the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin.

“Just about no other German film has inspired and influenced film history as greatly as Fritz Lang’s Metropolis,” Berlinale Director Dieter Kosslick said in a statement. “We are especially pleased and honoured to be able to present the reconstructed original cut of this legendary and seminal film classic at the festival’s 60th anniversary.”

Filmed at Berlin’s now famous Babelsberg studios, the seminal science fiction flick was the most expensive movie produced in Germany at the time. But it was not well received at first by German audiences. A radically shorter version was subsequently edited for a 1927 release, after which historians believed the original version to have been lost.

The shorter version of the film was restored in 2001 and became the first movie to be recognised as a UNESCO World Documentary Heritage. But the original 16mm version was found last year at the film museum Museo del Cine in Buenos Aires.

This version, some 30 minutes longer, has now been painstakingly restored by Wiesbaden-based film preservation institute the Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau Foundation.

“The unwavering desire and unflagging efforts to restore what was believed to be Fritz Lang’s lost original cut of Metropolis epitomise the Murnau Foundation’s commitment to save and preserve our rich film heritage and make it accessible to the public,” Supervisory Board Chairman of the Murnau Foundation Eberhard Junkersdorf said in a statement. “With the restoration and re-screening of Metropolis a dream has been fulfilled.”

Parallel to the Berlinale premiere, the new “Metropolis” will also play at the Alte Oper in Frankfurt with music performed by the Staatsorchester Braunschweig.

Transit Film GmbH (Munich) will later be responsible for distributing the new version of the film.

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