• Location: BAMPFA
  • 2155 Center Street
  • Berkeley, CA 94704

BAMPFA: F. W. Murnau, Voyages into the Imaginary

“The greatest film director the Germans have ever known. . . . He created the most overwhelming and poignant images in the whole of German cinema.”—Lotte H. Eisner, film historian and author of Murnau

Born Friedrich Wilhelm Plumpe in Westphalia, Germany, F. W. Murnau (1888–1931) directed some of the most highly regarded films of the silent era. His lyrical cinema is distinguished by its mood, mellifluously moving camera, and chiaroscuro lighting. Murnau’s ingenious ability to create the sense of a world beyond the frame was one of his trademarks. He began his career directing theater before turning his attention to cinema in 1919. He quickly made his mark as a director and by 1923 joined the UFA studio, where he directed The Last Laugh, Tartuffe, and Faust before heading to Hollywood. His productions at Fox included the beloved silent classic Sunrise, 4 Devils (a lost film), and City Girl. Murnau joined forces with ethnographic filmmaker Robert J. Flaherty on what would be his final film, Tabu: A Story of the South Seas, shot in Bora Bora. One week before its premiere in 1931, he died in a car crash on the Pacific Coast Highway, outside Santa Barbara, California. This retrospective offers viewers a chance to watch Murnau’s extant works with live piano accompaniment by Judith Rosenberg and Bruce Loeb.

— Susan Oxtoby, Director of Film and Senior Film Curator

January 8–February 27, 2022


Upcoming Dates For This Event:
Related Partners