SUNRISE: A SONG OF TWO HUMANS (CERT. U)
USA 1927 DIRECTED BY F. W. MURNAU
BLACK & WHITE 94 MINS SILENT
WITH: JANET GAYNOR, GEORGE O’BRIEN, MARGARET LIVINGSTON
A lyrical fable about the reconciliation of a countryman with his wife after he has been
ensnared by a woman of the city. With artful simplicity, the film follows the young couple’s
escapades in a fantastic modern metropolis.
Three of the first Academy Awards (Oscars):
Best Unique and Artistic Picture
Best Actress in a Leading Role – Janet Gaynor (for Sunrise and two other films)
Best Cinematography – Charles Rosher and Karl Struss
11th position in the 2022 Sight and Sound international poll to establish the greatest films.
‘One of silent cinema’s last and most luminous masterpieces.’ – BFI
‘Sunrise conquered time and gravity with a freedom that was startling to its first audiences, and the
film still astonishes with the boldness of its visual experimentation.’ – Roger Ebert
‘Looking at the visual beauty, elegance and fluidity of Sunrise, one must conclude that, by the mid-twenties, silent cinema had reached a remarkable pinnacle of artistic accomplishment.’ – Stephen
‘To Murnau, the greatest of all German film-directors, cinematic composition was never a mere
attempt at stylisation. The overwhelming and poignant images of the marshes in Sunrise were so
realistic that it takes the eye a long time to discern their artificiality.’ – Lotte H. Eisner
‘Murnau established a unique faculty of obliterating the boundaries between the real and the unreal.
Reality in his films was surrounded by a halo of dreams and presentiments.’ – Siegfried Kracauer
‘Sunrise is a great film, and photographically is a work of genius. Its European flavour is very
strong, but few could have infused the visuals with such a combination of delicacy and richness as
London-born Charles Rosher, one of Hollywood’s first cameramen.’ – Kevin Brownlow