A free screening of the film Metropolis will be held in Chelmsford Place on Saturday 2 April as part of the Leeton Art Deco Festival. "If you haven't seen this classic, then this is a great opportunity to see a film that is the 1920s equivalent of Avatar," said organiser Jason Richardson.

Released in 1927, Metropolis has had an influence on science fiction films like Star Wars and Bladerunner. In 2001 the film was included in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register and in 2010 Empire Magazine ranked it at number 12 in a list of The 100 Best Films of World Cinema.

The film bankrupted the UFA studio with a budget of over five million Reichsmark, estimated to be worth over $200,000,000 today. "Metropolis was possibly the first cult film," explains Mr Richardson, "as it had an underwhelming response at the box office on its release and took many years to find an audience but is now screened widely

"Metropolis and Avatar share in common is their criticism of contemporary politics. Where Avatar can be viewed as a comment on the US-led invasion of Iraq, Metropolis can be seen as criticising on the rise of the Nazi party in Weimar Germany, as well as promoting unionism and the achievements in establishing modern working conditions.

"It's a Romeo and Juliet-type story that's complicated when the Juliet-character, a community leader, is replaced with a robot manipulated by the Romeo-character's capitalist father," said Mr Richardson.

The silent movies were never silent, cinemas of the 1920s and '30s would have an organist or maybe even a full orchestra to accompany screenings. For the Leeton Art Deco Festival screening, Metropolis will feature a soundtrack drawing on the work of Duke Ellington.

Duke Ellington is one of the foremost figures in American jazz music, with a career that began in 1923 and ended with his death in 1974. "He is arguably the greatest composer of the twentieth century and the Art Deco period was known for big bands, like the orchestra Ellington led," said Mr Richardson.

It's sure to be a great night. "Bring chairs or a blanket to sit on, pack a meal or fill your Thermos and see a film that continues to resonate with audiences nearly 75 years after its release."

Metropolis is rated PG and will start around 7.30pm on Saturday 2 April, projected onto the main water tower in Chelmsford Place as part of the Leeton Art Deco Festival.