Thursday, February 7, 2013

76 of 1001 Movies: The Battleship Potemkin (1925)

So far this is probably the oldest movie I've watched, though there are some to come that are a bit older than it on the list. You probably won't see many silent films like The Battleship Potemkin from Sergei M. Einenstein as it features a lot of action, and violence. You'll also walk away knowing what the "Odessa Stairs" are after this one, which has to be one of the most brutal scenes you'll see in a movie. This Russian film has a lot of interesting history associated with, and the way the audience reacted to it is just interesting in itself. Because it is silent, and backed by music it seems to make the violence happening even more horrific to the citizens caught up in it. Their expressions says way more than words could.

The sailors on the battleship, Potemkin, are becoming disgruntled with their treatment, which includes feeding them food that is terrible such as meat filled with maggots. This causes a small uprising on the boat, but when some sailors go back to land the people are in their support resulting in a street demonstration after a man is murdered for protesting the soup on the ship. This brings on even further disaster though when the police turn up to bring on one of the biggest street massacres you'll witness.

Einenstein seems to have a way of building up the terror. We start with the scene of the maggots being the first prominent scene that really sticks out, and by the time we get to the stair scene you sort of feel the impending terror. Even in that scene it continues to just build upon itself with the baby carriage rolling down the stairs among the chaos with a baby in tow, and the woman's face slowly bleeding more and more with the scene progression. For some reason it just all feels very terrifying especially when the scenes cut to the people in chaos.

Many of the scenes take place on the ship out in the water though among the five scenes the movie is divided into. He has a unique flare that works with what he filming. While not a horror movie it just really feels like something horrific at times. He also did these interesting shots between the water, and the ships to transition, which was interesting. If you're looking for a movie that makes you feel some sort of relationship with the characters though you may not necessarily get that, and at times what is happening can get a tad confusing.

The Battleship Potemkin isn't light viewing, which is maybe why it wasn't a hit hugely with audience upon the time of it's release, but it does again account people just seeking independence from the terrors that have been reigning over them, so while some scenes are brutal in their search for this it is also inspirational to see people at the end achieve what they have longed for. You also have a soundtrack that really helps the movie out even though it sounds a little too intense in certain scenes when somethings have calmed a bit. Overall, the director has created something that feels slightly eerie, and a little too real to the viewer to show to us a bit of history.

Rating 3 of 5.

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