Sunrise successfully utilized mise en scène to contrast the fast paced city lifestyle vs. cozy country lifestyle, as well as the different characteristics of the actors, to show that true love is the only way to help the man get out of evil seduction.
The settings were a mix of real locations and artificial sets. Either way, they provided a perfect background to the scenes. John Bailey, the movie’s cinematographer, explained that the marsh was a studio set, the train in the first scene was a model made to look large in the foreground, the extras were real people and the projected city was from a matte drawing (Ebert: para 12 & 13). The rest of the settings were real. In most cases, the final product was manipulated with camera tricks, creating an imagery of dreaminess. For example, there were scenes where superimposed, ghost-like images were added. One scene showed the man being surrounded by the image of the woman from the city, but she was not physically present. Another scene showed exciting activities in the city with dancers and musicians providing the promised fun, but these images seemed to merely float in a void. Bailey explains that such images were borne out of creative camera use. The camera men used the advanced trick of that time of masking and exposing, controlling the lens and counting the individual frames where they would apply the trick. The finished product was clean without any hint of roughness. It is impressive that all these were done several decades ago when digital technology was not yet in existence, so talent and creativity played major roles in the genius of film makers then.
In the city setting, several long shots were taken to shoot the scenes. This was to capture all the action that goes on in one frame. This strategy saved the time and effort to show how busy everyone was in the city, so viewers can get a feel of the