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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

F. W. Murnau: Sunrise (1927)

I hadn't watched the movie till last night. I was wondering whether it had stood the test of time. Also I had read the plot and it seemed to me naive. Well, I can tell you that Sunrise is an amazing movie, there are not many movies like it. It has an unbelievable rhythm (maybe only Intolerance keeps the same rhythm), it doesn't let you a moment to breathe, it keeps you from beginning to end totally interested in what happens on the screen, never a dull moment. It passes from black romance to horror and then to a wonderful story of happiness, then to tragedy, keeping all along its unity. As for the image, it's amazing how modern, how daring, can be Murnau in his cinematographic ideas. It's a must-see by all means.

Janet Gaynor and George O'Brien in a promotional shot
They in the boat that serves as the locations for two very emotional scenes, but this actual scene never occurs in the movie.
no copyright infringement intended

As for the plot, it's not naive; it's actually an allegory, like a medieval morality, a paradigm of love, lust, desire to kill, remorse. It's about some very basic instincts, defining the fundamentals of our reality. And I wonder now whether the murder didn't actually take place and all that followed wasn't just a dream hunting the criminal.

(F. W. Murnau)



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