In the midst of the Russian Revolution of 1905, the crew of the battleship Potemkin mutiny against the brutal, tyrannical regime of the vessel's officers. The resulting street demonstration in Odessa brings on a police massacre.
Sergei M. Eisenstein
Emil Jannings is the doorman of the elegant Atlantic Hotel. He is proud of his uniform and function, and respected by his community. When he reaches the old age, he has difficulties to carry trucks and suitcases. The hotel manager decides to change his function to washroom attendant. This apparently simple action is enough to destroy him as a human being. He loses his self-respect and when his neighbor finds that he is janitor of the hotel, he loses the respect of his neighbors and friends.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
People seem compelled to speak in superlative-terms when talking about the great directors; which film is their greatest, which ones are underrated, etc. But this is a film so simple in its themes, so modest in its methods, that it doesn't lend itself to these labels very easily.
"Nosferatu" was revolutionary, but based on intensity, something that doesn't age very well. Other directors took up this notion of visual intensity (Leni, Boese) but structuralized it, and created the real German Horror masterpieces ("Waxworks," "Golem"). Murnau's discovery came later, with this film. That film narrative wasn't something that you followed linearly, but something you become immersed in. The lack of title-cards is not a gimmick, but a conscious decision not to interrupt the flow of this immersion. Reading is rational (hearing, slightly less so) and prevents this from taking place.
Add a Gogolian tale of aging and dignity, and Murnau makes magic. This is what "touching" and "moving" films should be like.
4 out of 5 - An excellent film
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