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New restoration of Fritz Lang's 'Metropolis' to screen

Metropolis PosterRELEASED: Jan. 20, 2011

EAU CLAIRE — The 2010 restoration of Fritz Lang's "Metropolis" (Germany 1927) will screen Feb. 3-6 at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. The International Film Society will present the closest thing to a definitive version of the film — over one-third longer than any previous release — at 6 and 9 p.m. in Davies Theatre.

The New York Times calls the film "a masterpiece of visionary silent cinema ... one of the strangest, most fascinating films ever made, a futuristic nightmare that is both sublime in its grandeur and remarkably intimate in its emotions. Just about every science-fiction movie you can think of pays tribute to its influence, but to date none has matched its strangeness or its prophetic power."

The restoration incorporates more than 25 minutes of newly discovered footage, backed by a new recording of the original Gottfried Huppertz score, presented in 5.1 stereo surround. In 2008 an essentially complete copy of "Metropolis" was found in Argentina — a 16 mm duplicate negative that was considerably longer than any existing print. It included not merely a few additional snippets, but a substantial amount of lost footage, about a fifth of the film, that had not been seen since its Berlin debut.

"Metropolis" takes place in 2026, when the populace is divided between workers who must live in the dark underground and the rich who enjoy a futuristic city of splendor. The tense balance of these two societies is realized through images that are among the most famous of the 20th century, many of which foreshadow such science-fiction landmarks as "2001: A Space Odyssey" and "Blade Runner." Lavish and spectacular, with elaborate sets and modern sci-fi style, "Metropolis" is the crowning achievement of the German silent cinema.

Critic Pauline Kael called it "a brilliant piece of expressionist design with moments of almost incredible beauty and power." The 148-minute black-and-white film is not rated.

Admission is free at the door with a Blugold Card or IFS membership. Community members who wish to attend campus films must purchase an annual IFS membership at the Service Center (715-836-3727) in Davies Center's east lobby. An individual membership costs $4; a family membership costs $10.

More information about the campus film series is available online and at the Activities and Programs office, Davies Center 133.

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JS/DW

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