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Sergei M. Eisenstein
My 300th Review: As Dadaism Dies, Surrealism Triumphs
At 20 minutes this is short enough to be seen by everyone. It illustrates neatly that cinema by 1930 had already acquired a status as art and entertainment combined.
This is very accessible art - and very Russian - the quick cut montage of sea and trees at the opening and its themes of existential loneliness and sentimentality that run throughout are quintessential characteristics of the Russian psyche, yet remain very easily accessible.
The key feature of the film though is the excellent soundtrack - it really is outstanding. The music by Alexis Arkhangelsky, who was himself an outstanding classical composer (His most performed piece is "Praise Ye The Name Of The Lord") is obviously Chopin and Prokofiev inspired with the alto, Mara Griy (The wife of the backer, so I understand), doing a wonderful job
Both Grigori Aleksandrov and of course Sergei Eisenstein would remain the two most influential Soviet directors right up to the 1950s.
It is interesting to note that this film was made just as Eisenstein was moving to Hollywood (He never made - the Hollywood powers under Pease simply wouldn't countenance a Soviet director - the plan was that he make Shaw's Arms & The Man).
Romance Sentimentale is grouped as avent-guarde with L'Age D'or (Which is still pretty disturbing nearly a century later) and Blood of the Poet but this is really avent-guadre poetry, a move from Dadaism and it's desire to shock into surrealism and a more introverted internal viewpoint. The ending a wonderful elegiac surprise and even though the film is experimental it remains truly mainstream in its vision overall.
If you get a chance to see it it is well worth the effort.
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