Osamu Tezuka’s Metropolis

This Japanese anime isn’t merely a cartoon version of Fritz Lang’s 1927 vision, with a screenplay by Katsuhiro Otomo (Akira, Roujin Z), it’s actually adapted from the 1949 work of groundbreaking illustrator Osamu Tezuka. In Tezuka’s dystopia, technology is both fetishised and reviled; rich megalomaniacs feud while disenchanted proles revolt against machines who ask: ‘Why do humans use violence to resolve their problems?’ Japanese detective Shunsaku Ban arrives in Metropolis with his nephew Kenichi, seeking to arrest corrupt scientist Dr Laughton. What they uncover, however, is Laughton’s ultimate assignment: ethereal beauty Tima, built to control the Ziggurat (‘the culmination of mankind’s long history of scientific achievement’), and ultimately a tool of world domination. At first, the cute protagonists appear oddly out of place against the burnished Art Deco backgrounds. But Otomo’s typically sophisticated script ensures slick pacing, combining humour, terror and pathos, particularly in the final scenes. Special mention goes to the vintage jazz and blues soundtrack. (TimeOut)

2001 RintarĂ´. 1.85:1 Color dcp 108 min. In Japanese with subtitles.