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Director: Fritz Lang, Fritz Lang
1927 / 153min / 35mm
Lang’s futurist epic imagines a dystopian 2026 where the proletariat has been reduced to a state of near-automation, until a Maschinenmensch robot simulacra of a real woman is used to sow dissent amongst their ranks, leading to a spectacle of revolutionary chaos. The Babel-like skyline of the film’s city setting, inspired by the spires of Manhattan, Walter Schulze-Mittendorff’s robot design—which inspired Karl Lagerfeld’s iconic 2010 Vogue fashion spread—are two visual references from which much of subsequent science fiction cinema has never ceased to refer to, in a film often imitated but never surpassed in its visionary imagination and awesome soundstage scope.