In Russia's factory region during Czarist rule, there's restlessness and strike planning among workers; management brings in spies and external agents. When a worker hangs himself after ... See full summary »
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Carl Theodor Dreyer
Emil Hass Christensen,
Preben Lerdorff Rye
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In Russia's factory region during Czarist rule, there's restlessness and strike planning among workers; management brings in spies and external agents. When a worker hangs himself after being falsely accused of thievery, the workers strike. At first, there's excitement in workers' households and in public places as they develop their demands communally. Then, as the strike drags on and management rejects demands, hunger mounts, as does domestic and civic distress. Provocateurs recruited from the lumpen and in league with the police and the fire department bring problems to the workers; the spies do their dirty work; and, the military arrives to liquidate strikers. Written by
The first thing you notice about Eisenstein's Strike is its modern feel. Even a simple glance will reveal hundreds of images and techniques that are still being used today; notice how the introduction of characters like The Owl and The Fox mirror similar introductions in films like Ocean's Eleven or even Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. Notice the amazing photography that constantly adds an undercurrent of dark humour to the narrative, notice also the unsentimental editing that creates dialectical meaning from juxtaposition of disturbing images - a slaughtered cow, the vanquished strikers, a dead baby, the greed of the bourgeoisie.
Battleship Potempkin was popular with the Stalinist regime because its lack of formalism, there was little in it to fool a dim witted censor. Itserved a purpose first, an aesthetic ideal second - the same can not be said for Strike that is as visually exciting as it is politically interesting. At times it resembles Lang and the German Expressionists with its moving sculptures of factories and machinery and at others it resembles Eisenstein at his realist best. Think of the Odessa steps directed by Murnau and you get somewhere near the idea.
Strike is a black film that is made blacker by comic scenes of the harshness of pre-Revolutionary Russian life and there are dancing bears too!
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