Woman in the Moon
(Frau im Mond)

Live Musical Accompaniment
Directed by Fritz Lang.
With Willy Fritsch, Gerda Maurus, Gustav von Wangenheim.
Germany, 1929, DCP, black & white, silent, 169 min.
DCP source: Murnau Stiftung

If Metropolis represents speculative science fiction, Woman in the Moon finds Lang with screenwriter (and wife) Thea von Harbou returning to the genre with a dramatic emphasis now upon the science. Lang’s last silent film presents the tale of the first rocket to the moon with a sincere realism and a woman essentially at the helm. Retrospectively, a few details—the multistage launch, the weightlessness, sunrise from space—were prescient, if not actually pioneering, as in the case of Lang’s apparent invention of the backward countdown. Although there is a plot involving a romantic triangle and a cabal of sinister capitalists, it is clearly the machinery that attracts Lang’s attention, as well as the science and morality behind it. Called Lang’s most abstract film, it retains some fatalistic and fantastic detours, yet with an atmosphere much cooler, and at times, chilling; the celebrated rocket launch sequence predicts the mass-as-machine imagery of Triumph of the Will.

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