Monday, 12 March 2012

To Die For... - Pam Hutchinson

A favourite film requires a few special ingredients. If you're going to return to a film time and again, and watch it when you're in need of solace or a smile, then it must be beautiful, it must have humour and for me, it must have a happy ending, or something close to one.
But there also has to be a spike of danger, and the chance that the precious happy ending might slip away. Adrenaline provides a thrill, and tears can offer as much comfort as giggles.
FW Murnau's Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans has it all. It's a monochrome fairytale, with a seductive villainess and two heroes: the Man and his Wife who come to the brink of a crisis and escape, back into each other's arms.
Murnau's unchained camera snakes across sumptuous, pictorial scenes: a village, a lake, a glittering city. We're following winsome Janet Gaynor and downcast George O'Brien as they learn to love each other again, to laugh and to be themselves. The beauty of the film (that expressionist lighting, the extravagant sets) carries the audience away with the couple's passions: we share their despair and their delight.
Sunrise does all this in order to celebrate the most precious kind of love, that which is lost and found. And that's why I find myself returning to this exquisite film on wet Sunday afternoons, and being swept away by its sheer romance.

Pamela Hutchinson

Pamela Hutchinson is a journalist and blogger. She edits the silent film website:

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