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Sunrise back to product details

cinematic summit
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written by RMorris June 27, 2007 - 9:30 PM PDT
A movie that explored the limits of refined cinematic story-telling. All the ingredients, light, shadow, character, timing, story, are perfectly integrated and executed. The three main actors reveal the souls of their characters mainly by body language and subtle facial gestures in a natural, flowing, subtle form of mime. Each was completely convincing, from Janet Gaynor's innocence, horror, fear, hurt, and forgiveness, to George O'Brien's tortured face and humped body expressing his loss of humanity as a result of sexual obsession, to Margaret Livingston's callousness and isolation from the community she has invaded like a cancer. Despite the evil, one almost feels sympathy for her in the end, a lonely, dejected, defeated predator.

If you're not much into silent cinema this is the best place to start to explore the possibilities afforded by the lack of sound.

More than meets the eye
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written by SBarnett January 23, 2007 - 9:52 AM PST
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful
One of the ten best films ever made, "Sunrise" works magnificently on every level. Famed for its cinematography and German Expressionist production, (Murnau used midgets and slanting sets to create the illusion of cinematic space) this "wordless" film takes as its raw material romantic melodrama common in its day (and ours) and transforms it into a vision of archetypal substance and what, for the cinema, must be seen as mythic proportion. The main characters fail to live the simple lives they wish to lead, yet in doing so they become something else, something greater--human. The Wife sees herself as a simple peasant, yet happily leaves her child and longs to be seduced by the pleasures of the city--champagne, dancing, romance--even her husband. The Husband, once a happy farmer, gives in to his dangerous passion and his equally dangerous duty. And perhaps most interesting of all, The Woman from the City plays fast and loose as a temptress, yet risks losing everything for love. Every scene from the film burns with a supernatural clarity--the moon rising over a swamp, a couple crossing a street, the eye of a would-be murderer, a drunken pig slipping on a tile floor, a body drifting in the water--scenes that have yet to be surpassed even today. A truly unforgettable experience.

Depiction of Country-City Dialectic
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written by JMVerville October 24, 2004 - 5:52 PM PDT
6 out of 8 members found this review helpful
I did not find this film to be that entertaining, per se, but the great visual depictions were unarguably influential and beautiful. There is a definite reason why the two cinematographers won the very first Academy Award in cinematography.

What truly interests me about the film is not necessarily the melodramatic story behind this, but rather the fact that this is so interesting as a study of views that many people had in the 1920s; a concept that agrarian life is naturally virtuous, and that city life is often very corrupt and contributes to decadence and immorality. The country-city dialectic is something that people do not think about so much, nor do they think about it in more recent times as anything but the 'backwards nature of the country people' when this film shows that at one point, people thought nothing more of this dialectic as demonstrating the backwards ways of the city people.

It is very interesting to see such a passionate portrayal of the sins of the city, and the virtues of the country. This very one-sided study of the country-city dialectic makes this film very interesting, in addition to the cinematography. The symbolism is very interesting. Overall, an interesting watch.

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(Average 8.44)
162 Votes
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