Double Feature: FRITZ LANG with M (1931)
This daring work of speculative metafiction explores the possible genesis of M (1931), legendary German-Austrian filmmaker Fritz Lang's genre-establishing thriller about the hunt for a child murderer. In 1929, as the silent era draws to a close, Lang (Heino Ferch, DOWNFALL; RUN LOLA RUN), having made more than a dozen films, is at a decisive moment in his life, searching for material to spark his next work — his first talkie. Stumbling across the chilling case of serial killer Peter Kürten — the "Vampire of Düsseldorf" — Lang immerses himself in the investigation and trial, travelling from Berlin to Düsseldorf and becoming deeply involved in the personal history of the murderer. Weaving fact and fiction with archival material and excerpts from Lang's own films, FRITZ LANG is both an homage to the work of a great filmmaker, and a gripping film noir in its own right, which hints at Lang's own complex and dark history. DIR/SCR Gordian Maugg; SCR Alexander Häusser; PROD Nicole Ringhut. Germany, 2016, b&w, 104 min, DCP. In German with English subtitles. NOT RATED
Set in 1931 Berlin, M is the chilling tale of serial child murderer Hans Beckert (Peter Lorre, in a star-defining performance) and the community he terrorizes, its various strata and conceptions of justice. Opening with an unsolved murder, the film depicts a frantic hunt for the killer. With the sanctioned wheels of the lawful justice system turning, the city's criminal underworld begins to have difficulties conducting business as usual. The streets are thick with police on high alert, conducting raids at every opportunity. In response, the city's mobsters devise a vigilante plan to capture the murderer and bring him to justice themselves. The first sound film of German-Austrian master Fritz Lang, M has come to be considered the original psychological thriller, the begetter of what would come to be known as film noir — and a profound exploration of crime, punishment and justice. DIR/SCR Fritz Lang; SCR Thea von Harbou; PROD Seymour Nebenzal. Germany, 1931, b&w, 110 min, DCP. In German with English subtitles. NOT RATED.
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