Bronenosets Potemkin (1925)
Director: Sergei Eisenstein
Actors: Aleksandr Antonov, Vladimir Barsky, Grigori Aleksandrov
Runtime: 75 min
Battleship Potemkin is one of the most influential films of all time.
When the film was made in 1925, it quickly established a film editing as one of the key elements of film language and radically changed cinema. Indeed, when we’re watching this film it’s hard to believe that was shot in distant 1925. However, Battleship Potemkin should not be viewed as a museum artifact. Today, as almost one hundred years ago, it calls to revolt against oppression and oppressors, and its powerful propaganda message carries the energy of not only the past but also the future revolutions.
In 1918 Sergei Eisenstein left the studies of architecture and joined the Russian Revolution, where he became a revolutionary propagandist. Together with Dziga Vertov and others he developed a new cinematic language that went out to change the cinema forever. Eisenstein wanted to stir the emotions and inspire viewers of his short films, and in this way to put the new art, cinematography, in the service of the Revolution. By far the strongest and longest lasting effects achieved his feature films Strike, October and above all Battleship Potemkin which soon upon release inspired hundreds of thousands of viewers, among them hundreds of future film directors. Luis Buñuel said that this movie changed his life and decisively influenced his decision to become a film director.
Historically, sailors’ mutiny on the imperial Russian military ship “Potemkin” of June 27, foretold the first, unsuccessful, Russian revolution that erupted in October 1905, and was crushed in December that same year.
During the Russo-Japanese War of 1904/05 most of the sailors of the Black Sea fleet were transferred to the Pacific, leaving ships with mostly inexperienced recruits and less capable officers. In this situation, the Central Committee of the Social Democratic Organization of the Black Sea Fleet, called “Tsentralka” made a decision to start preparations for the simultaneous revolt on all ships of the Black Sea Fleet. The first rebellion erupted on “Potemkin”, when on 27 June 1905, the deputy commander of the ship threatened to shot sailors who refused to eat maggoty meat. After a short struggle sailors took control of the ship and on the same evening sailed in Odessa flying a red flag.
Based on actual events.
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