Archive for metropolis
The newly restored print of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis was screened at the Berlin Film festival and Variety was on hand to offer this report:
A newly restored and nearly full-length print of German film giant Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis,” one of silent cinema’s and most influential treasures, unspooled with a splash at the Berlin Film Festival on Friday night.
Playing outdoors on a giant screen near the Brandenberg Gate in the snowy capitol city and for a packed house of cineastes at Friedrichstadtpalast, Lang’s visionary epic had not been seen in anything near the director’s cut since its 1927 premiere.
Thanks to rigorous restoration work led by the Murnau Foundation and due to a miraculous find of 25 minutes of footage thought to be long lost, rapturous auds saw the expressionist sci-fi yarn, which offers up a mix of futurecasting, robotics, Biblical tales, class politics and old-fashioned romance and thrills as the great helmer intended.
We can’t wait till this is available on this side of the pond. Metropolis has always been one of those films which has wowed us since childhood, but this chance to see a near complete version has us beyond excited.
In 2008, missing scenes from the 1927 Fritz Lang classic Metropolis were discovered in Buenos Aires. Many thought a complete version of Metropolis would never be found. But now it will soon be possible for people to see the film almost in its original form.
But the footage was 16mm and in poor condition. Many saw it as unrestorable. But some software whizzes as a company called Algosoft thought differently. And they’ve just posted the beginning of their restoration at their website. These tests concentrate on something called “deflickering”.
Here’s a description of the process:
After Algosoft’s Inna Kozlov and Alex Petukhov examined the footage, they were excited about the challenge — not only because it was an important piece of film history, but because it was a perfect test for their new fully-automated de-flicker algorithm. The flicker in the Metropolis footage wasn’t ordinary flicker. It consisted of bright moving splotches with sharp edges. When Algosoft sent their test results to Alpha-Omega, Thomas Bakels wrote: “I can’t imagine any of the other companies delivering something good as you just showed me.” In August 2009 Algosoft was informed that their test won the competition organized by Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Foundation.As a result, Alpha-Omega purchased a seat of VIVA, and it has been used to remove the dramatically flicker from damaged footage.
You can view samples of the flicker removal here.
Update: Check out this new high quality video of the restoration here. The audio is in German, but it features a lot of interesting clips so its worth watching even if you don’t understand German.