Battleship Potemkin

Year: 1925
Production Co: Goskino
Director: Sergei Eisenstein
Writer: NF Agadzhanova-Shutko

The one thing that stands out in memory the most after watching this movie is the brutality portrayed on screen. That's nothing new in movies, of course, but in 1925 it would have been quite shocking.

If you're a black turtleneck and beret wearing cineaste you'll know Eisenstein was a genius of unparalleled proportions. If you're anyone else you'll wonder who spelled the guy's name wrong what discovered relativity or sumfink.

Plenty of people will know much more than I will about the subtext, but it appears to be a love letter to the communist revolution as the ill-treated crew of the titular Russian navy ship overthrow their commanders to demand better conditions and take control of the vessel.

When they steam home they're greeted as heroes, their dead leader who was killed in the mutiny a martyr. The crowds that gather to cheer them on and lend support are set upon by police, who open fire on the crowd and slaughter men, woman and child alike - the scenes of full frontal carnage I found so surprising.

If you're anyone else other than a Truffaut and Fellini tragic you'll find the pacing of the silent movie era something to be endured rather than enjoyed. Like many of its contemporaries Battleship Potemkin could be told in a third of the time using modern pacing, but it deserves its place in film history if only for the scope of the production, which probably rivaled Birth of a Nation at the time.

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