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2016 Milwaukee Film Festival – Day Twelve – METROPOLIS with Alloy Orchestra

Posted on Oct 4, 2016 by | 0 comments

Day twelve of the 2016 Milwaukee Film Festival had one of the must see events of this festival. One of the highlights of every Milwaukee Film Festival  is when they turn the Oriental Theatre back into the classic silent movie palace it was built as in 1927. This year they brought METROPOLIS in conjunction with an upcoming exhibition at the Milwaukee Art Museum on German Expressionism.

There’s really not much point in reviewing a nearly 90 year old acclaimed classic. Sure some elements show their age, particularly in the acting and costuming departments, and the film wears its heart and morals on its sleeve. But METROPOLIS is still a vital, relevant film as the divide between workers and the elite has perhaps never been starker and METROPOLIS remains one of the most visionary films of the German Expressionism movement courtesy of Fritz Lang. Its influence has lived on in films like STAR WARS, DR. STRANGELOVE OR: HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE BOMB, BLADE RUNNER, and BATMAN among others. Its legacy is timeless.

Milwaukee Film brought in Alloy Orchestra to provide live accompaniment and the house was packed. It really was the Platonic Ideal of how to watch a silent film, with a great band and an enthusiastic crowd. There have been various scores to METROPOLIS over the years, and Alloy Orchestra’s is perhaps the best. There’s nothing like a live accompaniment to add immediacy and energy to a room, and Alloy Orchestra filled the massive Oriental Theatre with their sound. They received a well deserved standing ovation at the conclusion of the film.

The silent film presentation at each year’s Milwaukee Film Festival is one of the rare opportunities to mix film with live performance. The results are often the best of both worlds. It’s become an annual tradition to pack the Oriental Theatre for the silent films and I expect it will continue for many more years. Heck, they have to get to THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC and SUNRISE: A SONG OF TWO HUMANS one of these years.

There are only a few days left in the 2016 Milwaukee Film Festival which ends October 6th. Tickets and information can be found here.

Robert Reineke
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