Director: Sergei M. Eisenstein
Cast: Aleksandr Antonov, Vladimir Barsky, Grigori Aleksandrov
Soviet Union, 1915, 75’, black and white
Sergei Eisenstein's revolutionary feature has so long stood as a textbook example of montage editing that many have forgotten what an invigoratingly cinematic experience he created. A 20th-anniversary tribute to the 1905 revolution, Eisenstein portrays the revolt in microcosm with a dramatization of the real-life mutiny aboard the battleship Potemkin. The story tells a familiar party-line message of the oppressed working class (in this case the enlisted sailors) banding together to overthrow their oppressors (the ship's officers), led by proto-revolutionary Vakulinchuk. The film climaxes in the justly famous (and often imitated and parodied) Odessa Steps massacre. Eisenstein edits carefully orchestrated motions within the frame to create broad swaths of movement, shots of varying length to build the rhythm, close-ups for perspective and shock effect, and symbolic imagery for commentary, all to create one of the most cinematically exciting sequences in film history. Eisenstein's film is Marxist propaganda to be sure, but the power of this masterpiece lies not in its preaching but its poetry.
12 May Saturday, 17.00
27 May Sunday, 14.00
20 June Wednesday, 19.00
24 June Sunday, 17.00