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BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN

Director: SERGEI EISENSTEIN

71 minutes| U.S.S.R.| 1925| Subtitled| Black and White| D-Cinema


EXCLUSIVELY AT IFI

This latest assemblage of Sergei Eisenstein’s 1925 masterpiece is something of a revelation, even to those who’ve seen the warhorse classic many times in duped copies. Meticulously restored by the Deutsche Kinemathek, with dozens of missing shots replaced, the new version also boasts remarkably sharp images and a rousing rendition of Edmund Meisel’s score. Eisenstein’s retelling of the navy mutiny that sparked off the Russian Revolution may be a piece of propaganda, but even those who reject the film’s politics are likely to be overwhelmed by its brilliant technique. Using shock tactics worthy of Hitchcock at his cruellest, Eisenstein sets up a conflict between oppressed sailors and nasty officers that climaxes in a justly famous sequence in which a troop of Cossack soldiers opens fire on innocent civilians. The starkly graphic images, combined with the rhythms of the editing and Meisel’s music, are as powerful as ever. For all his intellectual theorising, Eisenstein was one of cinema’s great directors of spectacle. (Notes by Peter Walsh).

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