Battleship Potemkin

"Comrades the time has come when we must speak out." Vakulinchuk

"Comrades the time has come when we must speak out." Vakulinchuk

☆ Iconic 


Battleship Potemkin (1925) is poetic film editing on a grand scale.

Directed by Sergei M. Eisenstein.

Starring Aleksandr Antonov, Vladimir Barsky, Grigori Aleksandrov among many others.

Sergei ushered in modern editing techniques to silent films with the soviet film makers called film montage. Instead of images rolling out smoothly film montage has you edit a film so that you contrast different images to solicit a certain reaction from viewers. In one scene you see cared citizens, then Sergei cuts to the troops firing. Your mind then fills and reacts emotionally to the edited sequence. Luis Bunuel in Un Chien Andalou (1927) had a slightly different editing approach then Eisenstein in that his sequences were complete and utterly different images as in a dream. Both Sergei and Bunuel understood the power of editing to move and manipulate an audience.

Eisenstein has to be viewed with an understanding that it was made as a propaganda film. As such it may seem outdated to modern audiences, which does not diminish in any way Sergei's genius as a film maker.

In the scene below I love the shadows that the armed soldiers cast as the women carrying her sick and wounded child goes up the steps for their sympathy and compassion. Notice how Sergei uses film montage editing by inserting images of crowds begging for mercy, clenched fists and finally the fatal volley of shots that kill the woman and her child and causes the masses gathered to run for their lives. The story is beautifully told almost without words.


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Trivia - The film was released in Moscow in 1925 at the same time that Douglas Fairbanks film, Robin Hood. It was a close race, but Robin Hood won by a slim margin.