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Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans Single Film Study

jclarke | Sunday September 08, 2019

Categories: A Level, EDUQAS A Level, Component 2 Global Filmmaking Perspectives, Section C (Film Movements Silent Cinema), Analysis, Film Analysis, Films & Case Studies, American, Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans, Directors, F.W. Murnau, Silent Era, Genres & Case Studies, Comedy, Drama, Romance, Silent

YouTube link to trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PCgbFay53BA

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Section C: Film Movements - Silent Cinema (single-film study)

  • One Week (1920), American Silent Comedy
  • The Scarecrow (1920), American Silent Comedy
  • The ‘High Sign’ (1921), American Silent Comedy
  • Cops (1922) (Keaton, US), American Silent Comedy
  • Strike (Eisenstein, USSR, 1924), Soviet Montage
  • Sunrise (Murnau, US, 1927), German Expressionism (Coming soon)
  • Spies (Lang, Germany, 1928), German Expressionism
  • Man with a Movie Camera (Vertov, USSR, 1928) Constructivism and modernism
  • A Propos de Nice (Vigo, France, 1930), Constructivism and modernism

Context

There’s an idea (elegantly expressed by the novelist Italo Calvino) that’s worth engaging with and returning to quite often in relation to the films that we study at A Level and it’s this: that a classic is a story that has not yet finished with what it has to say to an audience. The film Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans is one such film ‘classic’. Indeed, it is a silent film that’s sometimes discussed in relation to two other films that were contemporaneous with it: The Wind and The Crowd.

Sunrise, then, is a major Hollywood studio production of the late-silent period. As an aside, so alluring is the film’s visual style that it even informs one of the shots in the film Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017).

Like all art and media formats, cinema is always in a state of evolution and this is an exciting process to witness, to explore and to seek to understand. Understanding the present is always enriched by examining the past and, so, taking the opportunity to engage with silent cinema is a vital part of our work in studying Certainly, Sunrise is one...


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