Directed by F. W. Murnau
RNCM Concert Hall, 8 June 2018
Sunrise is unquestionably a masterpiece of world cinema and Thierry Escaich’s live organ gave F. W. Murnau’s silent film a renewed vitality.
There is a love triangle – a country marriage fractured by the arrival of a temptress from the city – but it is resolved in time, as two become one again. It is Adam and Eve reconciled, having made up and mended. Genesis with a happy ending. Paradise Regained.
Such beautiful images and visions throughout. The city with its speedy locomotions and neonlit funfairs and fancy restaurants and elegant dances. As the orchestra play, the couple in love do a peasant dance. Meadows sunlit and Arcadian yet, elsewhere, tenebrous lakes where night creatures lurk. Nascent horror.
We have the birth of a new art form, cinema, an emergent medium founded on the realisation (discovery?) of how rich and multiple and strange the world is. Then sound came in and that was, if not exactly spoilt, obscured.
Mind, I wonder whether Hitchcock made reference to this idyllic country couple in The 39 Steps in the scene where Robert Donat goes into a Scots farmhouse and finds the wife drowning in domestic drudgery while pining for the city, dreaming of the bright lights.
A true classic.