Compared to John Ford’s studio-bound—though still highly appealing—South Seas adventure The Hurricane, recently reviewed here, Tabu: A Story of the South Seas, directed by the great German filmmaker F.W. Murnau, is a patently more realistic and wholly distinctive production.
The despair of loss weighs down Joshi in Sunrise. Joshi works as an agent in the social services of a Mumbai police station. He handles reports of lost and trafficked children, rarely able to effect any meaningful change. After fruitless days at work, he returns to his dark apartment and his heartbroken wife, who cannot accept the loss of their grade school daughter. A strange shadow figure haunts Joshi, leading him night after night to a strange club called ‘Paradise’.
Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927), as in other works of F.W. Murnau and the German Expressionist movement, is a style of emotions triggered in service of light where the relationship between Movement-Image is also the same between Image-Light. The intensity of light and its relationship to form thrust Expressionistic ideas into a new era and few films exemplified this more beautifully than Sunrise. The intensity of light is measured in proportions of black versus white and brightness versus darkness. Each frame of the film becomes a physical object, an exploration of this gradation. Each frame explores the full spectrum of the gray scale, passing from the darkest shadows to a white light, evoking a true sense of the chiaroscuro. In each frame, light, framing and blocking leans towards a tendency to split the visual image along a diagonal or dentale line (See Picture 1 and 2). This visual idea communicates an idea of a rift, a growing separation between lovers and worlds