Our opening double bill deals with one of the greatest themes in cinema: how the destructive and chaotic elements in human nature are mirrored in the violence of nature and transcended thanks to mystical and unseen forces. Sunrise, Murnau’s first American film, is an intense and emotional parable of seduction, betrayal, and redemption that revolves around three characters—a farmer, his childlike wife, and "the woman from the city." One of the most technically innovative and visually stunning films ever made, with its symphonic structure and flowing, lyrical camera movements, the film needs no spoken dialogue and represents the apex of the silent film as a narrative and pictorial art form. The famous ‘trolley car sequence’ is the film’s adagio: the husband and his wife, recovering from their brush with death, stand frozen in anguish on a city-bound tram as a lyrical landscape glides by. Tied with The Rules of the Game for first place in my personal pantheon, Sunrise was screened in 1996 as part of my first LACMA series—“Experiments and Achievements in Film Narrative”—and again in 2000 in our F.W. Murnau retrospective.
Bing Theater | $10 general admission. $7 museum members, seniors (62+), students with valid ID | Tickets: 323 857-6010 or purchase online.