Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Sunrise


Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans; Silent drama, USA, 1927; D: F. W. Murnau, S: George O'Brien, Janet Gaynor, Margaret Livingston, Bodil Rosing, J. Farrell MacDonald, Jane Winton

It's summer and many people from town travel for holidays to the village. Among them is the beautiful woman who seduces a farmer who because of her starts neglecting his wife and child. The woman persuades him to sell his farm and drown his wife and he accepts. He takes his wife for a boat ride but changes his mind in the last second, spares her life and begs her for forgiveness. The couple leaves to town and visits a barber, takes photos and dance. Upon returning home, the boat gets tipped and the wife disappears. The farmer chases the woman away and is overwhelmed when he finds his wife alive.

Excellent silent drama "Sunrise" that questions problems of extramarital affairs and rural-urban differences, was the first American film from German director F. W. Murnau and the first winner of the newly established Oscars, winning a statue for best picture, photography and actress in a leading role (Janet Gaynor). Murnau once again proved to have an original visual style that blends in perfectly into the story - when the farmer has fantasies about his mistress, her transparent body shows up in the shot, hugging him, and there is even a split screen present near the finale, showing the orchestra of the left side and dancing people on the right side. It's even a little bit unusual that the story has some humor, like when the dog bursts loose from the chains, jumps into the water and swims up to the boat or when the farmer tips a statue and breaks it's head, thus placing a ball instead of it. The romantic side of the story appears completely unexpectedly somewhere in the middle of the film and gives it freshness, even though the symbols in which the farmer through his troubles discovers his mistakes towards his wife seem obvious, while actors George O'Brien and Janet Gaynor complete the impeccable impression of this classic.

Grade:+++

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