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Sunrise 1927 *****

 

Silent films can often seem somewhat alien to modern viewers, but FW Murnau’s Oscar-winner from 1927 comes up fresh and vital. A simple story about a man (George O’Brian) trapped in a loveless marriage, his plan to drown his wife (Janet Gaynor) on a boating trip to the city fails, and leaves the couple to rekindle their relationship while exploring the teeming metropolis. But an accident in the same boat threatens to destroy their new-found love, until a melodramatic but crowd-pleasing ending arrives to save the day. Packed with ingenious tricks and a rare sense of moral complexity and forgiveness, Sunrise; A Tale of Two Humans is a rare perfect film, and an ideal starting point for anyone willing to explore the silent era.

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