What the Silent Film Demands - Metropolis (1927)

ICYMI, I’m working slowly but surely through the 1001 Movies To Watch Before You Die list. Movie #30 was the restored version of the historic film Metropolis by Fritz Lang this past Friday.

A bit of background on me: I’m someone who wants to consume as much as I can as often as I can. I’m constantly multitasking and devouring podcasts, videos, games, books… pretty much any medium I can get my hands on.

Metropolis demanded something of me that few media do: my attention.

This is the first silent film that has been RNG’ed on my 1001 list, but there have been a dozen or so foreign films, so I’m not ignorant of reading subtitles that demand my attention.

But a silent film is a whole different thing.

A silent film demands constant, unbreaking attention. I took for granted how much sound allows me to multitask. Even in a foreign film, I can look away for moments at a time when no dialogue is occurring.

The silent film demands patience.

This was humbling enough as someone who doesn’t give hard-crafted media the attention they deserve. But I’ve neglected to mention until this moment the length of Metropolis.

Metropolis has a run-time of 153 minutes. Two. And a half. Hours.

If the silent film demands patience, the 2.5-hour silent film demands endurance.

And yet, I watched it - end to end. And it was an excellent story. I’m the better for having consumed it in the way it demanded.

On a related note, this film was supposedly Adolf Hitler’s favorite. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that he either A) didn’t get the plot or B) didn’t have the endurance actually to watch it.


July 11th, 2022