There can be no understanding between the hand and the brain unless the heart acts as mediator.
My friends Kevin, Haze and Lisa accompanied me last night to the Harvard Film Archive to watch a free screening of the great silent epic Metropolis (1927) (some sites list it as 1926). It was quite a treat to see this monumental film up on the big screen. However, that was dampened by my disappointment in the audience reaction to the viewing. I believe that if most of the people in that audience had voted on my poll which asks "What do you think of Fritz Lang's Metropolis (1927)?" they would have chosen "Weird! Hello? Have you seen it?" as an option. I noticed that a couple people left in the middle of the movie while others stayed to gripe and moan about the over-the-top elements of the movie. I for one was tremendously irked by the negative reaction. Sure it's over-the-top. It's a silent film people!
I find solace in the fact that most of the people in the audience were probably required to be there and they obviously did not understand the background, history and impact of the film in order to enjoy it fully. I didn't enjoy Citizen Kane (1941) until I studied it in a film class as an undergrad and I hated The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) until I read Tolkien's books and got what the hell was going on. And if I didn't appreciate Metropolis' impact on history and culture and didn't enjoy futuristic art deco style, allegory, social commentary and biblical references, I probably would have bolted from the theater as soon as "The End" appeared on screen, as so many did yesterday evening. Knowledge is indeed power. Even if it only extends into the power of enjoyment.
On a more positive note, watching Metropolis last night reinvigorating my strong interest in this movie. I highly recommend that you read the Wikipedia entry on this film. Usually entries on this site are bare-bones, but this one contains a lot of interesting content as well as links to other sources. And Metropolis fans, like myself, can look forward to the complete film being released after an original print was discovered a couple of months ago in Argentina. One website claims, a new release on DVD and Blu-Ray may be on the market as soon as next year! Huzzah!
In the meantime, please vote on my poll to let me know what you think of Metropolis. Also, please feel free to share your thoughts in the form of comment entries on this blog (I love reading those!).