M (Lang, Germany, 1931)
Before leaving Germany the same evening that Joseph Goebbels offered him the top job in the Nazi film industry, the already famous Fritz Lang directed Peter Lorre in Lang’s innovative first sound film. A serial child murderer sows panic in the city as the public demands his capture. The police mobilize a massive manhunt, trampling on civil liberties in their efforts to locate the criminal. At the same time, the police squeeze the criminal underworld, disrupting its activities, prodding the underworld to organize its own surveillance operation to identify the murderer. Lang brilliantly shows how an internal threat to society provokes a frenzy of institutional surveillance as the twin forces of order and disorder apply their respective professional protocols to identify the culprit, tried in a riveting underworld “court.”
Refreshments provided. $2 suggested donation. Doors open at 6 PM.