Just had the lovely privilege of watching Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (F.W. Murnau, 1927) at Chautauqua with a live performance of the score. As far as silent films go it was very enjoyable and the film was full of gorgeous shots and great visual ideas. However, this business of scoring the fifth slot of Sight & Sound’s greatest movies poll is a little ridiculous. Clearly Sunrise was ahead of it’s time in certain regards, but it still is a primitive effort at filmmaking. My friends and I agreed that the entire middle section (basically the majority of the movie) dragged and really could have been portrayed in a few minutes with the same effect. Also, the ending was so unnecessarily rosy that it could only have been a result of the film-as-an-escape mentality of that time period. I appreciate silent films as an important step in the history of filmmaking and can be highly entertained by them, but it seems silly to me that one would be chosen as a top movie over other much more competent films. Without bashing Sunrise or its direction, I do think that it’s a product of its time. And unfortunately that time period had too many limitations for it to be seriously considered against the standards of filmmaking that developed since then.
I basically just wrote this same review but didn’t post it, this one’s a lot better lol.