Exhibition gives first peek at restored masterpiece ‘Metropolis’

Film lovers can catch a preview of the restored German silent film legend “Metropolis” at a new exhibition in Berlin beginning on Thursday – one month ahead of the film’s debut at the Berlin International Festival.

Exhibition gives first peek at restored masterpiece 'Metropolis'
Photo: DPA

“The Complete Metropolis” will be held at the Deutsche Kinemathek museum for film and television at Potsdamer Platz, where many of the Berlinale red carpet events take place.

“It will be sort of a Making Of,” said curator Kristina Jaspers.

Cinemaphiles can glimpse the 30 minutes of extra footage found in an Argentinean archive in 2008, some 200 set photos, as well as pieces of the city set itself, many of which were built in Berlin’s Babelsberg film studio. Also on display will be the film’s screenplay and original music score.

“Metropolis” depicts a dystopian, futuristic city full of skyscrapers and airplanes divided into two worlds. Above ground the rich live in luxury, while subterranean workers toil to serve the upper class. It has been credited with inspiring George Lucas’s C-3PO from the “Star Wars” films and the set from Ridley Scott’s “Bladerunner.”

When the 1927 science fiction film directed by Fritz Lang was completed, it was the most expensive film ever made, costing some 7 million Reichsmarks and including the work of thousands of people. Despite its colossal scale, the film was considered a flop and cut drastically before being released in the US.

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.

It premieres at a gala Berlinale event that will also be beamed onto screens at the Brandenburg gate for the public on February 12.

“The Complete Metropolis” runs until April 25, 2010.

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