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Monday, August 22

5:45   9:35


DOUBLE FEATURE: Two films for one admission. Tickets purchased entitle patrons to stay and see the following film at no additional charge.


Directed by F.W. Murnau

(1927) Subtitled A Song of Two Humans: the idyllic marriage of George O’Brien and Janet Gaynor is threatened when he falls for a cigarette-smoking, jazz-loving vamp from the city – so hard that he contemplates murdering his wife. F.W. Murnau and his screenwriter Carl Mayer were given an almost unlimited budget and artistic freedom for their first Hollywood picture, creating a nearly title-less visual poem. From the seduction scene in the misty, moonlit marshes, to the carnival-like trip to the city, to the hair-raising storm on the lake, this is a work of photographic pyrotechnics, from cameras moving on rails set in the roof of the set, to the lights of the city shimmering on the lake at night, to pictorial evocation of sounds and cries, in the last gasp of silent film. Under Murnau’s direction, Charles Rosher and Karl Struss won the very first Oscar for cinematography; while Janet Gaynor won Best Actress (for this and two other fims); plus a never-repeated award for “Unique & Artistic Production.” DCP. Approx. 94 mins.
5:45, 9:35

“For his Hollywood début, in 1927, the German director F. W. Murnau brought a slender story to life with a breathtaking display of cinematic virtuosity, creating one of the masterworks of the art form...The astonishing visual transition of the broken couple’s arrival, by trolley car, in the metropolitan swarm is matched by the overwhelming design of the city itself—complete with streetcars, traffic jams, and a teeming amusement park—which gives rise to meticulously staged set pieces and a mercurial range of emotions. With his invented city, Murnau captures the essence of urban life; with the generic love story, he conjures love in itself. From the wisp of a tale, he raises cinema to the heights of philosophical speculation—and, at the same time, renders palpable the joy of an unrivalled inventiveness, the miracle of the medium’s power.”
– Richard Brody, The New Yorker

“Possibly the greatest achievement of both Murnau and the silent film.”
– Pauline Kael

“Simply put, there’s before Sunrise and after it…It’s easily the most modern film of the silent period…you can see Murnau not only obliterating the barriers of cinema’s vocabulary but also constructing a new, sophisticated language before your very eyes.”
– David Fear, Time Out New York

“Silent cinema reaches its acme with the movement of Murnau’s camera through the vaporous fields of an invented America. Superimpositions and dissolves achieve an almost mythical state of deliquescence. Light not only flows but melts. Thirty years after its release, the ultimate cinephile magazine Cahiers du Cinéma declared Sunrise ‘the single greatest masterwork in the history of cinema.’ It’s an assertion as reckless, romantic, and extravagant as the movie itself.”
– J. Hoberman, Village Voice


Directed by F.W. Murnau    

(1922) Murnau’s legendary plagiarism of Dracula – a lawsuit that suppressed its U.S. screenings for decades – carried its own attar of the crypt, with speeded-up film, reverse negative and Max Schreck’s rat-like “Drac” amply serving up dread. 35mm. Approx. 94 mins.
♪live piano accompaniment by Steve Sterner

“This romantic fantasia of evil helped invent a whole vocabulary of thriller storytelling; Hitchcock put it to use for the rest of his life in tales of superficially respectable men who were predatory killers. The lunatic in his cell in Nosferatu, fanatically noticing insects, eventually morphed into Anthony Perkins in Psycho…A POETRY OF FEAR.”
– Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

“A masterpiece of the German silent cinema and easily the most effective version of Dracula on record…the key elements are all Murnau's own: the eerie intrusions of expressionist style on natural settings, the strong sexual subtext, and the daring use of fast-motion and negative photography.”
– Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader

“Watching Nosferatu is like standing in the same room as death itself.”

“It doesn’t scare us, but it haunts us. It shows not that vampires can jump out of shadows, but that evil can grow there, nourished on death.”
– Roger Ebert

“Derives its horror and sense of mystery from setting its sinister story in familiar surroundings among everyday people and events.”
– Ephraim Katz

Film Forum