Day forty-five: Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (April, 23)

I had cinema's history classes a while ago, for three months. It was an amazing experience, and some of the movies in this dare will come from that time, when we talked about it in class.

The DVD of Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans has been in my film's chest for years now, and finally I got to it today. I reminded some of the teacher's words about the 1927's F.W. Murnau's film: the pioneering way of mixing images, the use of sound at a time when sounding movies were a big novelty, and, most of all, the use of light and shadows to tell his story. 

The story, by the way, is awfully moralist, as many of the early cinema's narratives. I could understand better some cinematographic movements that defended a non narrative cinema. At the beginning, seeing how The Woman from The City (the actual character's name) tried to seduce The Man in order to convince him to murder his wife, I actually thought: this perverse decadent woman is terrible, why is she doing this? Wait a minute... WHAT??? That is the effect of such a moral tale. I hated myself for falling into such a trap. And I despised the film from the start for that reason, but I persevered to the end. 

The film is a fickle tale, going from the dark beginning, to a fuzzy and funny middle (the drunk piglet is too good, but it clashes with the darkness of the story), to an emotional and melodramatic end. 

Nevertheless, the images pay off the irregular narrative's structure, and let it clear why Murnau is a strong name among filmmakers. But Nosferatu, 1922is the one that I what to remind me of him, always. 

Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans. Directed by F.W. Murnau. With: George
O'Brien, Janet Gaynor, Margaret Livingston. Writers: Carlos Mayer et Al.
US, 1927, 94 min., Silent/Mono, Black and White (DVD).

PS: Fragments: Playing for Keeps, 2012, too silly for its own good. 


  1. I've been having an amazing experience in watching older movies lately and seeing different approaches to classic aspects of filmmaking, and it's great to see how some of them paved to way to what we now as cinema nowadays. I'm yet to watch Nosferatu, but I know now there's a world of learning one can get from the early German cinema. I would love to know your thoughts on Metropolis, if you have seen it. If not, you should absolutely do it.

    [ j ]

  2. I saw Metropolis a long time ago, and I've been looking forward to see it again for a time now. I missed an exhibition at a Fritz Lang festival last year, unfortunately. It would be nice see it in a good cinema instead of my crapy smal tv :)