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F. W. Murnau, Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans, 1927

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film Response

Film: F. W. Murnau, Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans, 1927

Love: Unbinding the Twentieth–Century Bourgeois Fantasy
F.W. Murnau\’s Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927)

In this week’s reading, we’ve encountered explanations of the way in which cinema introduces and generates a “desire” in the spectator. In Christian Metz’s chapter \”The Passion of Perceiving,” he writes that the “practice of the cinema is only possible through the perceptual passions: the desire to see… and the desire to hear.” (58) In what way is this practice carried out in a film like F.W. Murnau\’s Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927)? In your response, consider the way in which desire operates on a formal level in the film—shot framing, editing, etc (any of the basic operations of which we discussed in lecture)—as well as in relation to the main characters\’ motivations. Given that this is a silent film, how does the filmmaker implicate you, the spectator, in the film? Please feel free to refer to the writings of Béla Balázs or Harun Farocki in your response.

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