19

FRIDAY

In 1922, F.W. Murnau made Nosferatu, an eerie Dracula knockoff that did as much as any film to define the style known as German expressionism. On the basis of Nosferatu and 1924’s equally innovative The Last Laugh, Murnau was invited to Hollywood in 1927, where he quickly made Sunrise. Hailed as the greatest silent film ever made, or even (in Cahiers du Cinema) as simply the greatest film ever, Sunrise is a basic melodrama—a man from the country is seduced away from his wife by a city temptress—distinguished by powerful performances and spectacular photography. The film, an unparalleled example of visual storytelling, was to be the last great success of Murnau’s life; the 42-year-old director died in a car crash in 1931, a week before the premiere of his last film, Tabu. This screening is accompanied by the playing of organist Ray Brubacher and shown with “Big Moments From Little Pictures” at 6:30 p.m. at the Kennedy Center’s American Film Institute Theater. $6.50. (202) 785-4600. (Mark Jenkins)

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