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A peasant comes to St. Petersburg to find work. He unwittingly helps in the arrest of an old village friend who is now a labor leader. The unemployed peasant is also arrested and sent to fight in World War I. After three years, he returns ready for revolution. Written by
Erik Gregersen <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This silent 1927 masterpiece is truly brilliant. To me it embodies everything that cinema is meant to be; it's visual art in motion, literature with pictures, history with emotion; all those and much more. It really is at the peak of film-making.
I say that, but that is not to say it is a perfect film. Just that the intention in creating this bleak and powerful look at poverty in early 20th-century Russia is absolutely spot-on: It wants to tell a tale, create an image, and to breathe life into history. The intention is not simply to entertain like so many awful films of the past ten years, which is a good thing, since "The End of St. Petersberg" is great without actually being entertaining.
There are some very powerful scenes and some frankly unforgettable visual sequences - the scenes of the first world war for example, or the beginning of the workers' strike. Take it from me, Pudovkin's direction is absolutely masterful and I think it's sad that seemingly so few people have discovered him. But with all that said, by today's standards this doesn't quite have the staying power of Chaplin or Keaton.
It's quite wonderful to behold, but it can really only captivate the interest of people who are interested in details of history, or who know little of the events leading up to the Russian revolution. Unfortunately for me I'm neither very interested nor entirely ignorant and so while I'm very glad to have witnessed this grand-scale piece of master craftsmanship it couldn't completely peak my interest.
That's unimportant though in the great scheme of things, and I don't mean to say that I don't thoroughly recommend it to anyone who enjoys film or art. ****1/2 / *****
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