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Battleship Potemkin

Director: Sergei Eisenstein

U.S.S.R.| 1925. Black and white. Silent. 77 mins.


Sergei Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin, produced to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the failed 1905 Russian revolution, has long been considered one of the landmarks of world cinema. It once had such power that it was banned in many countries for fear of stirring up rebellion. Eisenstein’s method was basically an exercise in shock tactics, and the most awesome example of his technique in action is the Odessa Steps sequence, in which a troop of Cossack soldiers open ?re on innocent civilians.
The scene is a mosaic of confusion and chaos, created through a calculated alternation of light and dark, upward and downward movement, individual anguish and mass panic. In sharing the innocent people’s feelings of horror and helplessness, an audience becomes caught up in the struggle of the mass against the tyranny of their rulers. The moment makes revolutionaries of us all

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