METROPOLIS (Fritz Lang, 1926)
This classic arrives from Kino in a newly restored version described as the most complete yet, with intertitles covering some missing material and the original orchestral score serving as soundtrack. If you've never seen Metropolis, it's a must -- this is one of the most influential films ever made. Elements of its vision of a totalitarian industrial society have turned up everywhere in the 77 years since its initial release, from Madonna videos to Dark City, from Things To Come to The Fifth Element.
That said, it's also silly on a lot of levels, and the acting style of many in the film seems to be based on not blinking. Brigitte Helm, who plays the two Marias, one a saintly prophet, the other a demonic temptress, bears an unnerving resemblance to Carol Kane.
Metropolis is atypical for Lang, whose specialty in the silent German cinema was the three-hour-plus thriller (Spies, Dr. Mabuse), but it's a triumph of art direction and set construction. This restoration, the longest yet, starts from surviving nitrate prints and camera negative elements found in the German film archive, and it is stunning. (Cinematheque Ontario, January 17-21, 23)