In documentary style, events in Petrograd are re-enacted from the end of the monarchy in February of 1917 to the end of the provisional government and the decrees of peace and of land in November of that year.
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I was having trouble with this until I stopped paying attention to the narrative about the revolution and just watched the fabulous images. I am going to project this on the wall at my Xmas party with a soundtrack of 70's Funk/Soul music (Curtis Mayfield, Isaac Hayes, etc.)
made in 1928, but it's as formally sophisticated a movie as you're ever going to get. It's striking how his Stalin-era stuff seems artistically archaic next to this (although, in the long run, they are much better, and much more dangerous. films).
Every idiosyncratic image somehow tightly knit into a beautiful braid(or rather a very attractive montage). I'm hooked by the rythms, I stomp my feet to them as I would do to music, but expiriencing something entirely cinematic!
Eisenstein, who was so far ahead of time in terms of innovation, recreated the revolution here in his state sponsered film. Often brilliant yet perhaps overly simplistic in terms of storytelling at times. Great use of extras with well thought out framing and editing. Various dp's offered several looks to the picture. It's no "Potemkin" or "Ivan" but is an important piece of film history regardless.
I'd love to share my favorite Russian filmmakers and writers, but I have only a small clue about this very specific history (American, ignorant), so half the time I had no idea what was happening, and frankly, it's okay! Because your senses are being permeated with jaw-jacking images, choreographed like a tidal wave; as a viewer, you're just being pummeled. Enticing moving pictures, and a delight to be a recipient...
A monotonous film with a repetitive nature that isn't dramatically compelling, lacking even an emotional anchor in character(s). It may have a dazzling newsreel approach, stunning montages, and striking images, but is a case of style over substance, akin to modern blockbusters. As this was just soulless propaganda for its time, nothing less, nothing more. It lathers, rinses, and repeats itself every few minutes.
What an astonishing artefact of cinema, and document of the Russian Revolution. Eisenstein is a master craftsman; the scale of this reconstruction is a sight to behold, and the score by Shostakovich is a tapestry of sound. The delineation between communism and socialism was blurred in 1917; nowadays, an encouraged distinction is to separate the dictatorial/authoritarian from the democratic/moderate.