CFS to show ‘Metropolis’

Nathan Molteni

By Nathan Molteni

Staff Reporter

A blend of hand-drawn and digital animation, the Japanese anime film “Metropolis” was seen as a masterpiece within the animated film genre when it was unveiled in 2001.

Taking five years to complete, it was based on a 1949 comic by Osamu Tezuka, also the creator of the more famous “Astroboy,” who is widely considered the Father of Manga (the Japanese word for “comic book”).

Written by Katsuhiro Otomo (“Ahira”) and directed by Rintaro (“Galaxy Express 999”), “Metropolis” immediately found itself placed among the greatest animated film of all time.

As Oscar-winning director James Cameron said, “[It’s] the new milestone in anime.

It has beauty, power, mystery and above all … heart. Images from this film will stay with you forever.”

The setting is a futuristic city-state that inspires comparisons to Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner.” Society is divided by strict class lines, with humans at the top of the social echelon.

Separated from that top slice of society are the disenfranchised laborers, comprised of robots and androids.

At the pinnacle of society is a power-grubbing mogul whose own beautiful android is plotting his demise.

As is expected in any society of robots and humans, a power struggle occurs, including the appearance of rebel droid forces.

Many viewers have drawn comparisons between this film and Fritz Lang’s silent sci-fi work from 1927 of the same name, and director Rintaro lists Lang’s “Metropolis” as one of his favorite films.

“Metropolis” has been released in the United States with subtitles, like the art film that it is.

The filmmaker has not only composed images in terms of shadows, reflections and camera angles, but he has also made sure to distinguish different kinds of light.

For example, the glowing neon signage has an entirely different quality from that of the vibrant, candy-colored billboards.

There’s also a strong contrast between the city’s dark, run-down neighborhoods and the city’s gleaming expanses of deco-like architecture.

The jazzy musical score (with Rintaro himself playing the bass clarinet) may also acknowledge it.

The fourth feature in Villanova’s Spring 2008 Cultural Film & Lecture Series, “Metropolis” will be screened four times in the Connelly Cinema: Saturday at 7 p.m., Sunday at 3:30 and 7 p.m. and Monday at 7 p.m.

Admission is free for students with proper ID and $5 for everyone else. The movie will be shown in its original language, Japanese, with English subtitles.

Guest speaker Masako Hamada will be at the Monday evening screening to provide an introduction and lead a discussion afterward.

For more information, please contact the communication department at x9-4750 on weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., or consult the CFS Web page: