Movie Review: Sunrise (1927)


Note: This is #4 of my 52 Classic Movies in 52 Weeks challenge for 2009.

I didn’t even get past the subtitle of “A Song of Two Humans” to suspect that this 1927 silent film was going to be more art house wankery that was ahead of its time. And once I read in the Netflix summary that it had characters like “The Man” and “The Wife” all doubt was pretty much gone.

The plot is pretty simple, almost like a fable: The Man is seduced by The Whore From The City, who convinces him to drown The Wife in The Lake so they can elope. Only he can’t go through with it, and when The Man follows the fleeing The Wife to The City they fall in love again. The balance of the movie is mostly them having adventures in the metropolis, including getting a new haircut and chasing The Drunk Pig around a restaurant.

Like Intolerance, Sunrise strikes me as a movie that’s only interesting as an exercise in film history. From what I’ve read about the movie it was marvelously ground breaking in how it was made, with tracking shots, forced perspective, and camera technology that allowed cameras to move smoothly over rough terrain. And apparently it’s a wonderful example of German Expressionism, whatever that means. So, rah rah. That’s all fine and dandy as a lesson in film history, but the it didn’t do much for me personally.

I think this trailer should give you a pretty representative sampling of the film:

Others doing the 52-in-52 thing this week:

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