...the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


153 min. | dir. Fritz Lang | NR

The story of a futuristic, vertically oriented mega-city, where the rich live in the heights, enjoying the luxuries of “eternal gardens,” while the poor who finance their paradise live in the depths below, it’s hard not to read this movie, anachronistically*, as a parable of our current global inequities. The workers in this film inhabit a literal version of William Blake’s “dark Satanic mills.” Dwarfed by astonishing sets, they move in precise rhythms, like gears in a machine, until they are worn out and fed into the maw of the sinister, insatiable god of industry. The movie manages to be both time capsule (check out those pantaloons!) and prophecy, anticipating, in 1927, the day we would prefer man-made avatars to humans. Its influence is all over popular cinema, most obviously in George Lucas, Tim Burton, and Stanley Kubrick. You should take this rare opportunity to see this movie in a theatre, especially as it will have live musical accompaniment from Long Beach’s Creative Artists Collective. (Friday at 11:55pm at Art Theatre; more info at mondocelluloid.com.)//CHRIS DAVIDSON

[Published today in the print edition of The District.]

(*Did I mean to write "archetypally"?)

1 comment:

Condiment said...

I was able to catch a showing of this with live Theremin accompaniment many years ago. Sublime!