Simply stated, Fritz Lang’s silent masterpiece Metropolis
(1927) is a towering achievement whose shadow looms over all of
cinematic science fiction. Never mind that one can draw a straight line
from Lang’s robot Maria to George Lucas’ droid C-3PO — it’s
impossible to look at such films as Tron, Blade Runner,
Brazil, The Matrix and both Tim Burton’s and Christopher
Nolan’s Batman films without acknowledging their debts, both
visually and thematically, to Lang’s dystopian vision. One wonders,
too, whether Charlie Chaplin could have made Modern Times or
George Orwell could have written 1984 without a nudge from the
German auteur. Hell, Sen. John Edwards’ “Two Americas” speech is
probably in there somewhere, too. A discussion accompanies today’s 5
p.m. screening of Metropolis at the Kansas City Library’s Sugar
Creek Branch (102 South Sterling), concluding a monthlong retrospective
of Lang’s life and oeuvre. Admission is free. Call 816-701-3489 for
more information.

Sun., May 31, 5 p.m., 2009