Cinema about cinema and its more and less famous heroes is one of the most popular themes, and the results are very mixed, from superb classics to dull failures that do not succeed to get close to the sparkling and shining personalities in the history of cinema that they deal with. To take just one example, Alfred Hitchcock was recently the hero of at least two movies that centered on his personality and the making of some of his famous films. One was good, the other average, but our image about the master of thriller was enriched by seeing these films. In the history of the German cinema (but not only) Fritz Lang is a huge personality. Director succeeded to make an interesting film about him, not a perfect one, but with many ideas and a combination of techniques that makes it worth watching and discussing. Most of his films are about the pre-Nazi and Nazi period in the history of Germany and he seems to be one of the film directors who approach directly and with no nostalgia those times.

 

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5520618

source https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5520618

 

Despite its ‘generic’ title ‘Fritz Lang’ deals with a specific episode in the life and career of the famous film maker. Same as the hero in ‘s ‘The Artist‘, Fritz Lang, a film director who had built his name and fame in the mute film industry, was faced around 1930 with the disruptive emergence of sound in cinema. His preparation for the first spoken film which will be named ‘M‘ included taking inspiration from a real serial killer crime case. In the process his research turned into obsession and his way of life became influenced by the dark subjects that he was investigating. ‘s approach to Lang’s personality is not very sympathetic, to the point that it makes the viewer suspect at some point of the story that Lang himself may have been involved in the crimes.

 

(video source Belle-Epoque-Films)

 

The other very interesting aspect of ‘Fritz Lang’ (the movie) is the smart editing which combines scenes with actors, newsreels of the period, and scenes from ‘M‘. Fiction from the film and about the life of the film director merge together with documented history in flawless manner. Black and white filming also works perfectly. I liked the acting performances of as Lang and as the serial killer, they match the atmosphere of the period and the style of Lang’s movie. For most of the duration of the story the first chases the second and helps in his catching. When they get together in a dialog taking place in jail (a dialog which probably never happened in reality), they find a troubling number of similarities in their destinies. In a different twist of destiny the great director could have been a criminal. Or maybe he was one? This question remains open.