Sergei Eisenstein drew on history, Russian folk narratives, and the techniques of Walt Disney to create this broadly painted epic of Russian resilience, the story of Teutonic knights vanquished by Prince Alexander Nevsky’s tactical brilliance.
This film is not currently playing on MUBI but 30 other great films are. See what’s now showing
Excellent cinematography, arguably the single feature that elevates this film. The battle scene is superb given the limitations of the time. The myriad of peasants and knights are delicately characterised and choreographed to give a very realistic feeling to the story. The film also strikes a cord for its accute insight into a perilous era, prelude of one of saddest episodes in XX century Russian history.
A beautiful and ambitious historical epic that proves Eisenstein is not just relegated to silent relics. It still manages to be striking and intense, especially with its battle sequences. This is greatly complemented by the beautiful cinematography of the Russian steppes.
What is up with those Germans? It's like they're the apotheosis of evil. Man! This is an incredible collaboration between masters of music and cinema. Is it ironic that Walt Disney, who inspired Eisenstein, was such an Anti-Semite? Weird!
A curious pantomime of a film, as phoney and kitsch as any Disney film, yet with Eisenstein's primal power to impress, thanks to his grounding in the brutal visual simplicty of silent cinema. To think that once I thought this was better than his "Ivan The Terrible"...
It looked incredibly ugly, it's music was rubbish, it's dialogue was absurd, it's acting ridiculous, it's battle scenes seemed amateurish with no scale, the pacing and narrative seemed slapdash - just an utter mess. On top of that it was hyper-nationalistic, sexist and lacked any depth whatsoever (the explicit Hitler allegory hold no depth) , for example the rousing of the peasants had no intelligence whatsoever.
I often wonder what Russian filmmaking would have been like had the Bolshevik Revolution never happened, forcing its artists to only make films in such a manner as to glorify Communism. Even camera styles had to be "non-bourgeois.". But I've always had a soft spot for Soviet propaganda films, and Eisenstein in particular, and this historical epic, while a bit hokey and heavy handed at times, is undeniably glorious.