3epkano celebrate their 10th anniversary with a presentation of the most unique cinematic achievement from the silent era, Metropolis, in association with the Goethe Institut, at the National Concert Hall on July 17th at 8pm. Fritz Lang’s sci-fi epic will be screened in its original format, as seen by German cinema-goers in 1927, with a contemporary musical accompaniment.

Shortly after that 1927 release, an entire quarter of Lang’s original version was cut by Paramount for the US release, and by Ufa in Germany, an act of butchery very much against the director’s wishes. The excised footage was believed lost, irretrievably so — that is, until one of the most remarkable finds in all of cinema history, as several dusty reels were discovered in a small museum in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2008. Since then, an expert team of film archivists has been working at the Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung in Germany to painstakingly reconstruct and restore Lang’s film. Late in his life, Lang responded to a question on Metropolis by asking his own question, “Why are you so interested in a picture which no longer exists?” Finally, reconstructed and restored, the director’s film “exists” once more.

Fritz Lang’s 1927 epic Metropolis may be the most influential film ever made. It certainly spawned the cinema of futurism, and watching it today – now in an important new restoration – it’s uncanny to see how many shadows of cinema yet to come it already contains. Things to Come, Blade Runner, Alphaville and The Matrix are all there in embryonic state. Set in a dystopian city of the future (or allegorical present), the story recounts a battle between Metropolis’s overlord Joh Fredersen (Alfred Abel) and an inventor, Rotwang (Rudolf Klein-Rogge), who wears a prototype of the Dr Strangelove mad hand. Rotwang engineers urban apocalypse by having his robot impersonate social activist Maria (Brigitte Helm). The anti-Maria foments unrest among the city’s oppressed workers, while driving the city’s wealthy sons to lustful violence with her astonishingly lubricious nightclub dancing. The film’s futurism is still breathtaking, from its Art Deco titles to the neon spiral in Rotwang’s lab: this is surely must the first film to imagine people communicating by video screen. And Rotwang’s creation is not the first film robot, but it was the first to be sexy and streamlined.

3epkano are a Dublin based collective who are dedicated to producing original soundtracks for silent and avant-garde cinema. Founded in early 2004 by Matthew Nolan and Cameron Doyle, they have played numerous headline shows in both Ireland and the US to great critical acclaim. The group have also been commissioned to produce new music for such prestigious institutions as The National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin Fringe Festival, Film Society of Lincoln Centre and the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York. 2010 also saw them travel to New York to form the centrepiece of BAMcinematek’s tenth anniversary celebrations. They also performed at The National Gallery of Art in Washington DC to launch their winter 2011 film programme. The group’s most recent project involves collaboration with the acclaimed Irish singer Iarla O’Lionaird on a score for the German classic, Der Golem – a recording of which will be released later this year. 2015 will see them travel to Berlin, Paris, and New York to present new work.

Tickets €15 available from www.nch.ie or 01 4170000

Leave a Reply