The first time I saw Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, I think I was 14 and in the greatest english class ever (R.I.P. Ms. Bertie Lord!) so I thought I would never be in a better atmosphere to fully absorb that masterpiece. In fact, I kind of forgot about it until we went to Mass Moca recently and saw a screening of it alongside a live orchestra performing their own score to the silent film. God damn, if it wasn’t one of the greatest experiences I’ve had in a long, long, long time.
Alloy Orchestra was a 3 piece band of superhuman rhythm and stamina. The film is over two hours long and there are very few moments of hushed pianissimo sound. Besides impressing us with their sheer physicality, the soundtrack they created was impeccable and perfect in every scene. The bowel like, monotonous percussion accompanying the workers as they march like robots into the city, the shrieking, tense pitch of the flood as the children crawl and crowd Maria in the square – AMAZING.
This is actually a behind the scenes shot of the flood scene. Even the stills look awe inspiring.
Sometimes when you’re sitting in a theatre, watching scene after scene, shot after shot pass before your eyes, it’s overwhelming. I like looking back at the stills (you can see those and more behind the scenes photos at the Metropolis website) since every single piece of the set is so meticulously designed.
The combination of sight and live sound both at their peak of greatness in a theatre at my favorite contemporary art museum?
Well, it made for an experience that will stick to my bones for a long time. And that’s the stuff I live for.