Metropolis (PG)

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The Independent Culture

Fritz Lang's haunting vision of industrial drudgery, first seen in Germany in 1927, is re-released with 25 minutes of lost footage restored.

Its tale of two cities – one for the rich and leisured classes, the other an underground community of anonymous slave labour – is a nightmarish projection of humanity forced to operate as machines, a fate which a hero (Gustav Frolich) and heroine (Brigitte Helm) must strive to avert. But it's the stupendous design of the film that remains its true glory, whether in the labyrinthine intricacy of the workers' habitat, the monstrous scale of the sets, or the sleek robotic replicant of Brigitte Helm, the heroine's evil twin. Here is the starting-point of so much modern cinema.