Pioner Cinema » M
  • Thriller
  • |
  • 1931
  • |
  • 117 min.
  • |
  • Germany
  • director: Fritz Lang
  • cast: Peter Lorre, Ellen Widmann, Inge Landgut, Otto Wernicke
  • language: German audio with Russian subtitles
  • restrictions: 16+

“Pushkinsky / Pioner: Screen Expositions”. Together with the exhibit “Caravaggio and His Followers”. Light Painting in Film: The German Classical School.

Fritz Lang admitted to Jean-Luc Godard that he considered his first sound film, “Murderers Among Us,” to be the best film he ever shot. He wrote the screenplay in 1930 with his wife, the screenwriter Thea von Harbou, in the wake of increasingly frequent announcements about serial killings in Germany. This film — about a madman and child murderer, hunted not just by the police, but by a criminal underground that feared an emergency mobilization of detectives — communicated the troubled atmosphere of a terrorized society to great effect. In it, Lang masterfully played with shadows, contrasts of light and darkness, and glass reflections. The scene in which the gangsters’ exact vigilante justice on the criminal, became a metaphor for a society penetrated by criminal paranoia and hunger for murder. Filmed in Berlin in 1931, less than two years before the Nazi Party’s rise to power, “M” (from the German word ‘Mörder’ — murderer) was a warning about the deathly social ill gripping Germany at the time. It was perhaps symbolic that Lang’s film was originally supposed to be called “Murderers Among Us,” and that title was taken 15 years later by the first film shot in postwar Germany, by director Wolfgang Staudte.


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