Fritz Lang’s great 1927 silent Metropolis is probably the most influential sci-fi picture ever made, certainly one of the most influential movies ever made. Labor relations, class warfare, Oedipal conflict, mad scientists, robots, German romanticism—all combine in a dialectical struggle (and resolution) that Hegel would love. Metropolis’ long legacy is apparent in everything from Blade Runner to The Matrix. Though often screened in truncated versions, the film recently received the best and most complete possible restoration. (New intertitles explain the gaps where scenes are missing.) In her dual roles, Brigitte Helm still makes the robot Maria a figure of vampish, delectable evil—laughing uncontritely even when she’s being burned at the stake. The Alloy Orchestra will perform a live musical score to the film on most nights (see SIFF website). (NR) BRIAN MILLER

Oct. 21-28, 7:30 p.m., 2010

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