Sunrise: A Song of Two Riccis
It was upon viewing F.W. Murnau’s Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans that a notification penetrated my senses, like a razor-tipped Post-It note lacerating the brain. In-between Murnau’s dreamy exteriorisations of character emotion and shots of drunken swine (that is, in the zoological sense, as opposed to the Hunter S. Thompson one), a modest romantic melodrama unfolds, one featuring the usual constituents of heterosexuality. In this relationship, it was the character of The Wife that caught my attention (yes, her male opposite is credited as The Man, not The Husband, but this was made 79 years ago, so we’ll forgive that deficit of egalitarianism). But it was not for the obvious reasons that her form captured my attention. No, for an uncanniness was to extemporise itself right there and then.
As the acute reader will no doubt already have gleaned (from preceding implications, plus a fastidiously created visual accompaniment), this lady bore a noticeable resemblance to someone not her. This lady, monikered Janet Gaynor at some point post-puberty, exhibited the facial signifiers of one Christina Ricci.
The likeness led to some deep cogitations on my part - at times almost causing me to miss either a wealth of superimpositions, or the Movietone sonority waltzing over the expressionistic imagery. I was backed into an alley located under a large marquee stating the blunt proclamation of Reason. What am I to do? Decipher an already-convulsed contradiction? Take some inchoate thoughts and extend them to encompass the perimeters necessary to satisfy a solution?
Well, I did consider iniquitously appropriating the already-erroneous conception of time traversal. Like, perhaps, Ricci emancipated herself from the ever-unrolling present and torpedoed herself back to 20s
Frankly, the idea of Chomsky perforating the edges of a dichotomous divide between animation and reality seemed more plausible to me. But this is where the truth tumbles from its haphazardly-concealed hole.
The superficial sheets - porous from the start – can be pulled back to see what were the contents it belied so incompetently. For is it not simply an authorial requisite that has turned arbitrary pointlessness into something desultory with form?
Why, it is indeed.
Nothing beyond an obligation to project some line of thought is in play here, as bereft of content as that may be (a grievance which has many precursors). Some instinctual wants, developed out of routine, can be blamed for this.
So overwhelming is the want for metaphor. And now here is one.
Urge is carried along in a rickshaw, forever alert, and accumulating titbits of information. Piloting this vehicle are the twin monoliths of Time and Energy. They propel the contraption almost perpetually, providing little opportunity for Urge to dismount and go about his business. Occasionally both components of this thrusting force ease up just enough for Urge to escape his innate imprisonment and frolic around like a free jazz medley.
The dualistic tugging machine has just interrupted the incessant ambulation for a moment’s rest. But soon it will resume the journey - like a glacial pendulum shattered by apathy, recess dies quickly.
As for the Ricci phenomenon, lets again attribute to it mystical qualities catalysed in the core of the human mind, just this once. As for what they are exactly, I leave that up to the imagination of the spectator.