Sunrise: A Tale of Two Humans
26 January 2012
Sunrise: A Tale of Two Humans is a tale of sex, threats, murder and a bit more of all three for good measure. Made in 1927, it was one of the last great films of the silent film era as Hollywood was moving onto the "talkies" and directed by German director, F.W. Murnau.
A 1920s femme fatale (dress head to toe in black satin smoking that all important cigarette) has arrived in a small farming community on vacation and has set her sights on a young farmer. That wouldn't be so bad, except the farmer is already married. She dances a crazed dance and the farmer cannot get her, and her promises of a better life, out of his head. There is witchcraft afoot. Soon the femme fatale entices the farmer into plotting the plan for a perfect murder, the murder of his wife.
The characters in Sunrise don't actually have names, this is meant to give the viewer the sense of a universal love story (though how universal a love story is which involves the murdering of your wife… I am not sure!) The first intertitle reads, "this song of the Man and his Wife is of no place and every place; you might hear it anywhere, at any time". Pretty menacing.