Eisenstein felt that a work of art would have more power if it was structured according to these same dialectical principles, involving a continual clash of opposites. In 1976, the Soviet filmmaker Sergei Yutkevitch, in collaboration with Naum Kleiman, created a new version that was the most complete and authentic to date, but its pacing was again compromised by the use of stretch printing, and it was still missing fifteen shots compared to the current reconstruction. Petersburg, with the story of the Potemkin as a brief prologue. This extreme close-up delivers horrendous shock and empathy. It may not strike the modern eye as particularly unusual, because every film we've seen since has imitated these editing techniques, but it is very easy to imagine how someone like Douglas Fairbanks—who was no stranger to action on film—must have viewed Potemkin as an absolute explosion for the possibilities of film. But of course, here, they have no mercy: as she reaches near them, standing literally in their shadows, they shoot her down. Eisenstein created optical conflicts by juxtaposing shots whose graphic elements visually contrasted.
Steps are always a precarious place to be under any circumstances, because they threaten us with loss of balance. The sequence has been directly imitated many times—most obviously by —but as that carriage teeters precariously on the very top step, and the mother slouches against it, tipping it over the edge and sending it on its terrifying trip down the staircase—it's easy to imagine how this scene has influenced and instructed generations of directors, from Hitchcock to Spielberg, in how to create a suspenseful sequence. GradeSaver, 16 January 2019 Web. Though there had been comparably scaled action sequences in other films—such as Griffith's —no one had come close to portraying this kind of visceral action with such emotional impact. Rather than showing us shots of the soldiers firing and then the woman reacting, Eisenstein shows us the terrified reaction before he reveals the cause. In the years between the Russian Revolution and the rise of Stalin, filmmakers in the Soviet Union invented a new language of film: one that still inspires filmmakers today.
The concept of movement embraces all affects of the montage piece. Eisenstein further extends the duration of the mother's death by cutting away from shots of her as she dies to other actions. Thus, the woman's shock is suggested not primarily through the expression on her face, but through the jolts created by the unconventional jump cuts. There are no sub-plots, no tangents, no romances or villainous schemes or comedic diversions: it's not that kind of movie. Eisenstein spends a lot of time identifying different kinds of montage, but they are all in service of what he calls intellectual montage: the idea that the collision between two representational images can create, in the mind of the viewer, a third image or idea that is not visually representable. The hysterical crowd pours down the steps. We naturally try to make sense of the world and the things in it.
Then the chaos of movement changes to a design: the rhythmic descending feet of the soldiers. Through his innovative, time-expanding film technique, he conveys the subjective reality of what it would feel like to be trapped in a traumatic situation that seemingly goes on forever. I mean, obviously the guy was a genius: look at that hair! The sense of intensity and concern hits an all-time high as we see the baby carriage falling down the stairs with the baby inside. That led me quickly to reading a couple of essays by Eisenstein himself, and encountering a mind that could knock me on my ass with a couple of sentences. One by one, the Marine squad lowers their rifles. Lots and lots of donuts. And by close-up, I mean what we would nowadays call a medium shot.
By cutting to shots of people fleeing down the stairs, the audience feels the urgency they feel, while at the same time feeling concerned for their safety. The camera would almost always be static as the actors would act out the scene. This elicits the most basic emotional response, that of tempo which can be raised or lowered for effect. Suddenly, from out of nowhere, lines of government soldiers appear at the top of the steps, and begin firing into the crowd. Everybody dutifully performs their expected jobs without incident until the call for lunch, which is refused almost unanimously, the sailors opting instead for bread and canned food from the storeroom. Griffith had laid the groundwork for this kind of expansive filmmaking, but had done so by being very careful about things like eyeline matching in order to allow the viewer to smoothly follow action across shots. One of the real pioneers of film theory, and still considered by many to be the most important, Eisenstein is one of those guys you might spend a year studying just to figure out what the hell he was talking about, and then spend another lifetime trying to grasp a fraction of what he understood about filmmaking.
Without warning, the troops attack the crowd and chase them down the Odessa steps, opening fire on all civilians—whether man, woman or child. Seaman encourages revolution against the Tsar's oppressive regime by urging his fellow sailors to join their striking comrades back home on land. The mother and son begin as just two figures almost lost in the crowd, but as the shooting starts, and the crowd descends the stairs, Eisenstein keeps returning to this mother and child, and we see the monstrous Cossacks whose faces we never see fire their guns, and we watch the boy go down. Do you watch films with more than a casual eye? Their victory was short-lived, however, as during their attempts to get the population of now in Ukraine to launch a massive revolution, arrived and laid waste to the insurgents, thus fanning the winds of war that would ultimately lead to the rise of in the. We quickly cut to a close-up of the mother horrified. Note the way, for example, the symbol of religion is visually paired with the weapons of violence and oppression.
Otherwise I keep these up primarily for other film students to reference. We cut to an extreme close-up of mother. Eisenstein, influenced by the experiments in Kuleshov's workshop, was acutely aware of how viewers' mental processes can heighten the emotional power of film. This is the first shot of the sequence not adhering to the right-descending vectors. Petersburg now called Leningrad in the summer of 1925, bad weather was setting the project further and further behind schedule. Eisenstein Script: Eisenstein, based on an idea by Nina Agadzhanova-Shutko Assistant Director: Grigori Aleksandrov Director of Photography: Eduard Tisse Editing: Sergei Eisenstein Cast: Aleksande Antonov Vakulinchuk , Mikhail Gomorov Matyushenko , Vladimir Barsky Captain Golikov , Grigori Aleksandrov Chief Officer Gilyarovsky , Aleksandr Levshin Petty Officer , Beatrice Vitoldi Woman on the Odessa Steps , N.
Eisenstein was not unique in the Soviet cinema of the 1920s in developing montage — the technique was also utilised by Vsevolod Pudovkin, Dziga Vertov, and Boris Barnet — but along with Lev Kuleshov, who he briefly studied under, he was its foremost theorist. I doubt the list will change, but I'll be shocked if all posts go up exactly when I think they will. The Battleship Potemkin, 1925, Sovexport Films. Another version with English titles was prepared by the British leftist filmmaker Ivor Montagu. While intellectual montage can evoke deep abstract ideas, without being rooted in a strong narrative frame work, as it was in Battleship Potemkin, the intellectual montage was too much abstraction for audiences to follow.
He reaches out for his mother, screaming. A film can bolster or downplay emotions with close-ups. Eisenstein lingers on several shots of children, sentimentally evoking the hope for the future of Russia, and—in the lack of feeling shown them by the Tsar's troops—the justification for the entire revolution. As the troops march ahead, a military boot crushes a child's hand. My modest goal for this project was simply to watch the films, and think about them, and read just enough of what other people have said about them to put them in context and understand something about why they're considered such landmarks in film history.