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Lonesome, Paul Fejos's exquisite, poetic 1928 masterpiece about love and estrangement in the big city, deserves to be ranked with The Crowd as well as Sunrise, though it's not nearly as well-known as either. It begins with a dazzling evocation, using superimpositions and diptychs, of the hero and heroine, who haven't yet met, as they wake and pursue their morning work routines. They meet at Coney Island that afternoon, lose track of each other in a crowd, then are reunited back in the city in a surprising diptychlike scene. Fejos, who later became an anthropologist, was already interested in ethnographic archetypes when he made this picture, which makes city life seem like a labyrinth in a fairy tale—as intricate and inscrutable, but also as enchanted. 69 min.

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