Review On Sunrise Introduction to Cinema Studies Assessment Task 2 Mark Thomas Brand 9810139u April 29, 1999 Adrian Danks For this assignment I have chosen question 2 on the discussion of a particular edit. The film I have chosen to discuss is Sunrise, and the edit is from the portion of the film where the lady from the city and the husband are discussing the city at the lake. I chose this particular edit for a couple of reasons the first being that for it’s time the effect it produces is quite remarkable. It’s also the scene that caught my eye and held it for the longest period. Visually rich without the need of sound. The edit flows through a variety of images and the shots that surround it are filled with references and common cliches that get the point across.
The edit is graphically continuous as it dissolves from shot to shot without any solid cuts. We begin with the city girl telling the husband that he should come to the city. The scene then dissolves to an image of a huge brass band busily and noisily at play. This shot is in complete contrast to the serenity of the still country and the bright silent moonlight. The edit then continues to dissolve into an angled shot of a city street teeming with people hurriedly about their business.
This shot is dissolved with that of the band, creating the feeling of organised chaos. This dissolve reiterates the hustle and bustle feeling of the city in contrast to that of the country. The edit then dissolves back to the scene at the waterfront where the city girl is dancing away to the imagery she has created through her tales to the husband. He stares at her wide-eyed as the cliche’ country person reacts to the big city, almost hypnotically. I believe that this edit encompasses most of the major themes of the film. Firstly we are given a rivalry or good Vs evil, or slow Vs fast, or nature Vs cocnrete.
The good countryman meets dazzling evil city girl and is hypnotized by the glitz and glamour. On one hand we are shown the serenity of the lake and through the dissolves we are brought into a fast pace with the band and the people, that finishes with a lakeside jive from the city girl. The edit creates an increasing rhythmic relationship. It gives you the feel of stepping on the gas pedal. It starts at a solid stable shot that in its entirety from still water to still people gives us the feeling of dead calm. Then through the use of the other shots and the dissolve we get the rhythmic sense of increasing speed that finishes at a fevered pace with the city girl.
The shots in this edit are spatially continuous. Although the imagery of the city could have been embedded in the city girl’s mind much earlier it’s not a flashback because she is telling the story at the time of the dissolves. We don’t lose any time in the film but instead this creative use of a nondiagetic insert compensates for dialogue. The shot does dissolve into symbolic shots of the city which are very cliche’, but they are actually dialogue for us to understand, rather then visual commentary placed by the director. The dialogue this creates is much stronger than the words the actor could have used for we then relate the images with our feelings of the city, and get something different out of it individually.
This edit also contributes to the feel of the film that’s created by the characters. When the husband and wife are shot alone in their environments the pace is for the most part very steady and their emotions are conveyed as deep and methodical. On the other hand when we are shown the city girl or the city they are always at a fevered uneasy pace. This edit blends us between both worlds starting in that of the serenity of nature and shattered by the city girl and her tales of the big smoke. By dissolving these shots and not cut editing them we’re given the sense of being hypnotized instead of being confronted with the city. Throughout the film we are shown the city girl as casting a hypnotic spell on the husband.
This happens in the shot of the husband dreaming of the girl, and again in the shot of the spinning wheel that zooms out to the fair, among others. Once again we don’t have dialogue to enforce this but the imagery is so strong that it made me feel as if it would ruin the film. Finally the shots the edit is made up of are continuous and discontinuous. The continuity is maintained in the action of the band members and the overlapping of that shot and the city, and then the action of the girl. But the first dissolve is discontinuous, as the action is completely different from the lake to the band.
I was impressed with this edit from beginning to end. It conveys so many things in such a beautiful format. It gives us the basis of the struggle between the man/country and the girl/city. Watching the edit so many times also made me appreciate the thought and effort involved in the better films of this time especially Sunrise. It really is an ingenious film but a film I would have given little notice before this class. It’s nice to do an assignment where you take something away aside from a grade.
Film and Cinema.