Film Analysis : ' Sunrise '

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“The most exciting moment is the moment when I add the sound… At this moment, I tremble.” (Akira Kurosawa) Sound is arguably the most important concept in cinema studies, being there ever since the beginnings. It can radically change the way a motion picture is looked at and it can render what the director may sometimes find hard to depict using only his camera. Looking upon silent cinema one discovers an era which wasn’t at all silent, but rich in sound of different forms, from the simple narration of the images shown on screen, accompanied by a piano, to the complex score later composed specifically for that film. An example of that complex score is shown in Sunrise, a film by F.W. Murnau, which lies at the border between silent cinema and sound cinema. Considered to be one of the first films with an actual score, Sunrise is a great example of the multitude of dimensions and effects sound can have.

tumblr_m6iclhK9U91qcs276o1_500Certain aspects of sound are essential in creating the right atmosphere for a film. According to Bordwell and Thomson there are fundamental perceptual properties of film sound such as loudness, pitch and timbre. When referring to loudness, the volume of a certain atmosphere can be manipulated to achieve a certain effect. Using Murnau’s Sunrise as an example, one can understand these concepts better. For instance in the scene where the husband realizes that his plan is in danger of being revealed because he’s left the bunch of bulrushes in plain
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