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
100.000.000 peasants - illiterate, poor, hungry. There comes a day when one woman decides that she can live old life no longer. Using ways of new Soviet state and industrial progress she changes life and labor of her village.
Sergei M. Eisenstein
In 1930, a group of three Russians - Sergei Eisenstein, Grigori Alexandrov, and Eduard Tisse - began an ambitious film in Mexico. A year later the backers halted the project before filming was complete.
Having revolutionized film editing through such masterworks of montage as Potemkin and Strike, Soviet director Sergei Eisenstein emigrated west in hopes of testing the capabilities of the American film industry.
Sergei M. Eisenstein
In 1547, Ivan IV (1530-1584), archduke of Moscow, crowns himself Tsar of Russia and sets about reclaiming lost Russian territory. In scenes of his coronation, his wedding to Anastasia, his campaign against the Tartars in Kazan, his illness when all think he will die, recovery, campaigns in the Baltic and Crimea, self-imposed exile in Alexandrov, and the petition of Muscovites that he return, his enemies among the boyars threaten his success. Chief among them are his aunt, who wants to advance the fortunes of her son, a simpleton, and Kurbsky, a warrior prince who wants both power and the hand of Anastasia. Ivan deftly plays to the people to consolidate his power.Written by
After Anastasia's death, when discussing the Livonian war the "only" son of the Czar is mentioned. Howevefr at the time Ivan had two sons, Feodor, who became Czar Feodor I of Russia, and also Tsarevich Ivan Ivanovich. See more »
Czar Ivan IV:
Those who tore down the bells without Czar's permission, those by Czar's command get torn down the heads for not too long.
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All the credits are showed in front of a fire smoke. See more »
Sadly overrated and dated for the time period, but highlights the limitations the Eisenstein was subject to
It's almost immediately obvious that this film suffers because of Stalin's Iron Curtain and the government-mandated style of Socialist Realism. Watching it feels like a film from 1929 rather than one released 4 years after Citizen Kane and 3 years after Casablanca. Eisenstein probably never got a chance to see those films or any of the other films after he was forced to return to the USSR in the early 1930s. The film shows heavy influence from European films of the 1920s. His use of shadows recalls German Expressionism and the extreme closeups of dramatic facial expressions are lifted directly from Dreyer's Passion of Joan of Arc. The cinematography and sound is particularly dated. There is an almost complete absence of any kind of camera movement or zoom shots except for a couple dolly shots at extremely dramatic points. It results in some awkward moments with framing, shot composition, and even scene blocking as the actors have to restrict their movements to stay in frame. Very often it results in the subjects in the shot being oddly off in the corner of a shot. It's unclear whether this is the result of technical limitations or artistic choice but it's very distracting especially for a film from the mid-40s. Likewise, the sound is often limited to the score and voices with ambient sounds like footsteps being left out. This adds to the dated and silent film-like feel of the film as a whole.
Aside from the technical aspects, Socialist Realism constrains the film in terms of character and plot. The mandate to de-emphasize (or eliminate) individuals as characters essentially squashes any hopes for character development and Eisenstein has to lean on fairly blunt forms of symbolism to communicate his character's inner emotional states. The antagonists in particular are one-dimensional caricatures of actual human beings. Although, in an advancement relative to Eisenstein's earliest films like Strike, the characters actually have names. Also, Socialist Realism forces any kind of real nuance or sophistication out of the story. By government mandate, all characters are all good or all evil and the film must eliminate ambiguity and serve to glorify the state and Stalin in particular with the blunt subtlety of a sledgehammer.
Finally, the actors are all clearly more accustomed to theatrical acting rather than cinematic acting. Taken along with all of the factors, this often results in googly-eyed overacting with an unintentionally comic effect.
Ultimately, it's rather tragic considering what a pioneer Eisenstein was in the 20s and how he contributed to film editing in particular. I would have loved to have seen what kind of film Eisenstein would have made if he had the same kind of artistic freedom that directors in other countries had at that same time period.
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