Battleship Potemkin

6. BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN (1925-USSR). Directed by SERGEI EISENSTEIN. Often cited as one of the ten best films of all time, POTEMKIN is as exciting today as when it was made. Based on actual events: the fierce mutiny aboard a battleship in Czarist Russia (1905) and the bloody aftermath, in which the Czar’s troops ruthlessly massacred hundred of innocent civilians who had sympathized with the mutineers. Eisenstein saw these events as symbolic of the class struggle that would culminate in the 1917 Russian Revolution, and he used the film as a demonstration of his vast array of “montage” (editing) techniques. The “Odessa Steps” sequence is a virtual textbook of film editing (rapid “collisions” of images, parallel editing, cutting on for expansion of time), but the sequence, arid the film as a whole, go beyond aesthetic principles and startling vibrant, heart-stopping drama. The images are absolutely unforgettable: a line of Cossacks, firing as they steadily advance; a small group of townspeople, pathetically huddled together at the foot of the steps; a mother, defiantly carrying her wounded child back up the steps toward the waiting soldiers; a baby carriage, rolling down helplessly, about to be cut down by a vicious Cossack. This is one of the great cinema classics. Silent film with music score, correct projection speed. 73 minutes. Eisenstein