"O, my People! Rise in your ancient strength and free yourself!" Glorious, if historically imaginative, piece of Soviet cinema. Every shot is spectacular, as are the powerful, occasionally even scathing, montages, and brilliant, gut-punching imagery. Plus beautiful footage of early 20th century Mongolia. Death to the capitalist, imperialist pig-dogs!
Essential silent cinema from director Vsevolod Pudovkin that stands as a testament to early Soviet cinema and near rivals Eisenstein with its use of editing technique. Memorable cinematography from Anatoli Golovnya with many striking images and impressive scope. An under sung gem
I saw a great 16mm print with live musical accompaniment by Donald Sosin and admired the technical virtuosity but I wasn't as involved emotionally but not knowing the historical context of Asia - Soviet relations I felt it may have distanced me from the proceedings somewhat.
There's an episode which joins beautifully the face and the landscape. Then there's a mock on religion that at the same time seems fascinated with its rituals. Finally, some of the weirdest alternate editing sequences I've seen precede a "clockwork-orangey" political satiral. The culmination of it all is a leap from specific action to abstract historical force. Amazing.
Its not a bolshevik film if it doesn't slander the capitalist or religion and in this case it happens to be Buddhism. Which surprised me a little.
Were the Mongols considered in the Soviet system as presented here? Or just pure propaganda.
While it takes some time, the denouement is worth it, both for the way it wraps up the story and the compelling editing and style of it all in the end. Seeing it for the first time, it's actually kind of mind-blowing. And for a silent film, it has one of the best lines that still reflects on our current history in its various facets: "We are training the soul of our future leader." Sounds familiar.