Sunrise. A song of two humans (F.W. Murnau, 1927): USA

Reviewed  by Joakim Svensson, AFI Festival 2012.

F.W. Murnau is a skilled man, we can all agree on that. Sunrise, a classic, for surprisingly simple reasons. I cannot say that i am very versed in the language of silent films or even that era of cinema, but i know when i see a fantastic film. Why this film and it’s story comes out so powerful and is still one of the best silent films out there is because of the use of very exciting cinematography, especially for a 1927 production, it plays with distorted set design to create depth beyond the camera lens, something that feels like a gamble that ended up being extremely rewarding. It tied nicely together with the believable performances of the two leading actors that put their entire characters and their emotions through the use of their facial expressions. In my opinion actors can normally come off as limited on a silent screen, but in Sunrise it lifts the film up to a very real story between two humans that is expressed through a very honest  performance. As the title beautifully puts it, a song of two humans is really what this film is all about, just these two humans in love and the song the share. The score is obviously perfect for it, composed by Sheldon Mirowitz, like many other silent films of the same era the score works to emphasize what we are supposed to feel. In Sunrise the music leaves enough room to question the emotions on screen, it creates a lot more room to analyze the film and i believe that is one of the reasons why we are still writing about it. It is bigger then it first seems and it just continues to grow. No matter what age, what part of the world your from, how many losses of love you have had through your life, a humans story is only as real as you feel it to be, a universal language, a song we can all understand; the song of two humans. If i had to pick one film to believe in and know that it will never disappear simply because of its importance for cinema, i would pick F.W. Murnau’s Sunrise.

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