Battleship Potemkin

battleship potemkin
Броненосец Потёмкин
dir. sergei eisenstein

Tonight we go back in time a bit; Battleship Potemkin was chosen to be screened in class, and I decided to save myself from having to endure it twice.

Potemkin‘s a toughie. The chief example of Soviet montage (in which incredibly careful consideration is made when editing a film so as to provoke the maximum emotion from the spectator as possible) and the Kuleshov method  (showing two unrelated things and provoking a sense of connection between them). It’s a relatively short film at 75 minutes, but it’s jam-packed with rebellion, blood, and, in the case in the print I saw, the symphonies of Dmitri Shostakovich.


In addition to the revolutionary (lol) editing, Potemkin is perhaps best remembered for the Odessa Staircase sequence, gif’d above, in which soldiers mow down civilians as they flee. The scene is brutal to say the least, and holds up pretty well today.

That being said, I just don’t Soviet filmmaking is my thing. I know that multiple viewings help put the abstract metaphors into perspective, and that good films deserve to be seen time and time again, but there has to be something that pulls you in from the get-go. Films like this one and Man With the Movie Camera didn’t pull me in; if they do you, congrats, you get to add this piece to your puzzle. I’d rather just give Russia the cold shoulder.


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