Ten Days That Shook The World

461. TEN DAYS THAT SHOOK THE WORLD (October) (1927-ussr). Directed by SERGEI EISENSTEIN with G.V. ALEXANDROV. Cinematography by EDWARD TISSE. Eisenstein’s follow- up to “Potemkin” is just as powerful and fascinating. The legendary, innovative Soviet filmmaker employed his “metric montage” theories, with a heavy dose of symbolism, to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the Bolshevik revolution. He was commissioned by the Soviet government to make the film, and he decided to recreate the temper of the period by centering his scenario on a specific place and time: Petrograd (Leningrad), from February through October, 1917. Primarily, the film recreates the events leading up to, and culminating in, the Bolshevik overthrow of the Kerensky government. From its first moments to last, Eisenstein brilliantly employs the language of the medium to create a striking, memorable dramatic effect. His compositions are meticulously designed and expressively lit; however, most importantly, he employs rapid-fire editing in what has come to be specifically known as “intellectual montage.” For example, he edits together shots of a Christ figure and the word “God” with a series of primitive idols. The result is a condemnation of traditional Western religion, communicated strictly through aesthetic means. Additionally, no professional actors appear in the film. All roles are played by individuals, selected from the general population for their resemblance to the various character types. Because of infighting within the Communist Party, Eisenstein was forced to re-edit his film, which was poorly received in the Soviet Union. However, if not his masterpiece, the film is still an eye-popping, mesmerizing visual feast. Film historian Leslie Halliwell has called it a “spectacular and exciting reconstruction… brilliantly photographed by Tisse. The screen’s most persuasive re-creation of fact, and one of its most powerful pieces of propaganda.” “Silent” film with original music score, correct projection speed, 120 minutes. Eisenstein.