La Grande Halle De La Villette

After picking up a pair of headphones at the entrance to this exhibition, I walked into a spacious room in which clips from Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, 1926, and Dziga Vertov’s The Man with a Movie Camera, 1929, were being shown. Vertov created one of the most emblematic of all film images, featuring the protagonist (the cameraman of the title) perching on a steel girder high above the city and panning his camera over the teeming forms below. Just as this sequence was projected on the screen—a “curtain” made of a regular movie screen cut into strips and hung from the ceiling—a group of people broke through from the next room by mistake. This unusual screening room, it turned out, was the first of many; the curtain/screen was also the “door” between these first two rooms, and the people had lost their bearings and wandered through it the wrong way. Although an accident, this little episode (

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