Thursday, August 2, 2012

Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans

Silent films are a major blind spot for me. It's not that I don't like them; it's just I get more caught up with films from the 1930s onward.

I opted to watch perhaps the most famous silent film ever made: F.W. Murnau's Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans. What Murnau offers is a story that just radiates on screen. You have to love a film that's eighty-five years old and it still resonates to whomever watches it.

With this being a silent film, naturally there is no dialogue. It requires actors of great skill to say so much without saying anything at all. Murnau enlisted George O'Brien and Janet Gaynor to do such a task and boy, does it pay off. (Gaynor won an Oscar for her work; O'Brien should have at least earned a nomination.)

Like all great films, it's the technical aspects that are on full display alongside the actors. In this case, it's Charles Rosher and Karl Struss' cinematography and Hugo Riesenfeld's score. Both are haunting, beautiful and will echo in your mind. Ah, older films always have those.

Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans is a gorgeous film that which breaks your in every other scene. It's very possible this inspired many other films in the years to come, but who knows? Maybe no one dared to rival the beauty Murnau captured.

My Rating: *****

1 comment:

  1. There a very few films that have made me cry, but this film makes me cry about five or six times I see it. One of the most simple, beautiful and elegant films I've seen.

    I'm glad you caught up with it. And the cinematography is magnificent. It would probably be in my top 5 in terms of cinematography. The cross-dissolves are astounding.


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