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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Steps

8/10
Author: Lucia Joyce from United States
21 August 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I saw this short on "Alive From Off Center" way back in the day. Using then-cutting edge compositing and chroma key effects, Rybczynski shows a tour guide with his group (in colour) wandering through the famous (black and white) "Odessa Steps" sequence from Eisenstein's Battleship Potyemkin. The sarcastic climax comes at the famousest bit, when the mother is shot and her baby carriage rolls down the steps: the tourists ooze from every corner of Eisenstein's enraged frames, pointing and cooing at the blood, taking photographs of the calamity with their flashbulb cameras.

A brilliant, intriguing ten minutes, on the warping and woofing of memory through technology, on the capitalist exploitation of revolutionary rhetoric, on the transformation of the iconic into kitsch, and even on the played-out-ness of the "Odessa Steps" sequence (Brian de Palma and Terry Gilliam had only just stolen it, for example, for "The Untouchables" and "Brazil").

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Rybczynski on Eisenstein

4/10
Author: Thomas (filmreviews@web.de) from Berlin, Germany
18 May 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Steps" is a 25-minute short film that is a mix of black-and-white and color and includes Polish filmmaker Zbigniew Rybczynski's take on the famous early Eisenstein movie "Battleship Potemkin". In here, Rybczynski mixes scenes from said movie with his own work and the outcome is a truly bizarre little film. Unfortunately, I myself cannot say I found it too interesting or memorable. It is probably essential to have seen Eisenstein's work and (dis)liked it in order to care for this one here. Rybczynski made it about half a decade after his Oscar win for "Tango". I personally also felt "Steps" was way too long. Maybe it would have worked better at a runtime of 10 minutes max and not almost half an hour. I do not recommend the watch. I liked other stuff from Rybczynski more and I guess there is a reason why this is not among his most known works. It's a solid tribute, but beyond that, there is very little apart from the absurdity.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Very intriguing if overlong.

7/10
Author: planktonrules from Bradenton, Florida
22 June 2012

This is another art film from Zbigniew Rybczynski. While at first it might appear very silly, I am pretty sure the filmmaker was trying to make a statement about the vacuous nature of mankind or something of the like. It's well worth seeing but I also felt some of its impact was lost since the film seemed overlong.

It all begins in a film studio's control room. A Russian tour guide/director is getting ready for the production to begin and he's bouncing about the room making comments about how the film would be made as well as how much he loved this Western equipment. Then, a group of folks enter the studio and they are all dressed in VERY stereotypical outfits--like archetypes of the garish 1980s. He explains the process through which he'll be able to transport them INTO the classic Russian silent film, "The Battleship Potemkin" (also called "Potemkin"). Using a green-screen, he is able to make it appear (rather crudely) that these full-color people are walking among the victims on the Odessa steps as the Imperialist troops attack. Most of their comments are VERY banal and the people seem to be completely unmoved by the plight of the black & white folks in the original film.

This is a film with countless possible interpretations--such as a commentary about Capitalism, the 1980s or mankind in general. All I know is that because it went on for so long, I really found my interest fleeting. An interesting idea for an art film that could have been trimmed a bit to greater effect. But, for fans of the very artsy, it's worth a look.

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