ABU DHABI //With long-lost footage, new characters and subplots, the full-length version of Fritz Lang's classic 1927 silent film Metropolis screened before a full house at Abu Dhabi Theatre last night.
Originally, the 148-minute black-and-white epic was cut to 90 minutes to make it more commercially viable. It wasn't until long-lost footage was found in an Argentinean archive two years ago that the film could be restored.
With the new material, the sci-fi classic now includes characters and subplots that fans of the movie never have seen before.
Mohammed Khawaja, from the programming department of the Abu Dhabi Film Festival, said it is a great testimony to film restorers and an honour to be able to present the movie at the festival.
"Films that are made can never take care of themselves," he said during the introductory speech preceding the film. "They require us to maintain them for the generations to come."
The new version of the filmmade its world premiere in Germany in February. The original was crafted during a stable period of the Weimar Republic in Germany.
It explores the class divide between workers and management in a fictional city called Metropolis. The high class live above ground in luxurious skyscrapers; the working class live and toil beneath the ground.
The film stars Brigitte Helm, a German actress, and is set to a restored recording of Gottfried Huppertz's original soundtrack.
Mr Khawaja added that viewers are in for a magnificent experience.
"If I were back in 1927 and I would have told Fritz Lang that in 83 years time, in a city called Abu Dhabi in a country called the United Arab Emirates, his film would be showing to a full house in a theatre on the seafront, he would have never believed me," he said. "This just goes to show anything is possible."
The film is being repeated in Marina Mall's Cinestar this afternoon at 3.15pm.