Berlinale: Programme


Film file

Retrospective

Sunrise - A Song of Two Humans

Sonnenaufgang - Lied von zwei Menschen

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A young farmer is nearly ruined after being beguiled by a sophisticated woman on vacation from the city. He is ready to sell his farm and follow her to the big city. But there’s the problem of his wife. The two quickly devise a plan. The man will capsize the rowboat on the journey and let his wife drown. But at the last minute, the man is unable to carry through with the crime. In the city, the husband and wife are reunited … Sunrise captures the light of summer; it is Murnau’s most mature and captivating film. Cinematographers Charles Rosher and Karl Struss have illuminated the narrative flow of the melodramatic interplay of light and shadow with vivid images that reach their summit in the scenes in an amusement park and during a stormy night in a rowboat. They were rewarded for their work with the very first Oscar. In 1967, Lotte H. Eisner wrote, ‘In SUNRISE light and movement are once more supreme. It is full of moving lights and flashing movements.’ She describes how light traces a fleeting pattern on a wall, or casts a sudden vivid shadow; how a face can be now lit up and now in shadow, and how Murnau used light to define space and create the famous ‘depth of focus.’

USA 1927, 95 min

by

Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau

with

George O'Brien
Janet Gaynor
Bodil Rosing