Out now — Georges Franju’s feature debut, La Tête contre les murs [Head Against the Wall, 1959] and, on both Blu-ray and DVD, one of F. W. Murnau’s final and greatest achievements, Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans .
Pierre Brasseur, Anouk Aimée, Charles Azanavour, Paul Meurisse, and future director Jean-Pierre Mocky (who also wrote the film’s scenario) come together for Georges Franju’s elegant and poetic-realistic exposé of a psychiatric institution in La Tête contre les murs. Said Franju about his subject: “Mental illness is contagious. I’m not able to stay alone with the mentally ill. They are many and I am one. It’s not mental force that prevails — it’s the numbers. I feel hopeless next to them — so subtle are they, so mysterious are they, so full of poetry…” Upon the release of the film, Jean-Luc Godard proclaimed: “In the incomparable Orphée, Jean Marais, being pelted with stones by the false poets, shouts at Heurtebise: ‘What says the marble in which a masterpiece is sculpted?’ He responds: ‘I am insulted; I am stricken.’ — but he knows he’s wrong. The same goes for the celluloid ribbon upon which Georges Franju imprinted La Tête contre les murs.”
F. W. Murnau’s Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans is considered by many to be not only the greatest silent film ever made, but also among the very greatest of all films, a work that pushed the ingenuity of image-building into an entirely new realm and stripped back the notion of plot to its barest essence in order to clearly articulate the universal fundamentals of love and compassion in all mankind. This new MoC release of Sunrise marks the first-ever global release of a silent film on Blu-ray, and both the high-defintion and standard-def DVD versions include the complete film with its Movietone soundtrack, and the lustrous HD restoration of the slightly shorter Czech print of the movie. Sunrise is one of the few works about which it feels like neither hyperbole nor cliché to assert: “This is truly the most beautiful of films.”