Battleship Potemkin

Battleship Potemkin

From the series "The year 1905"

DVD - 2007 | Russian | All new restoration with the original Meisel orchestral score ed
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Sergei Eisenstein was commissioned by the Soviet government to make a movie commemorating the failed uprising of 1905, a mere 20 years after the actual incident. Eisenstein duly hails as heroes the people whose actions were regarded as traitorous in 1905. It began when sailors on the Potemkin protested that the meat they were being fed was maggot infested. In response, the commander ordered that ten random sailors to be executed by firing squad, at which the crew turned on the officers and killed them all. The oppressed people of Odessa joined the revolt to show their rejection of the czarist regime--which sent Cossack troops--who then mowed down both rioters and innocent citizens without mercy. The film was banned at various times in the US and France, and for a longer time than any other film in British history; even Stalin banned it, at a time when mutiny was against the party line. It remains remarkable for the way it builds tension over a brisk 69 minutes, and in the right setting with the right audience, can still reveal its inflammatory power


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Jan 23, 2016

Sergei Eisenstein’s breathtaking piece of Soviet agitprop is just as engaging ninety years later even if the Communist posturing elicits more irony than insurrection these days. Banned in France and the UK until the 1950’s due to a fear of working class unrest this masterful silent classic has gained a rightful place on countless “best of” lists including Premiere magazine’s “100 Movies That Shook The World”. From painterly views of ship’s cannons backlit by glorious clouds to a string of close-ups showing zealous sailors and peasants alike embracing the party line, there is nothing subtle about this movie especially when a tense naval stand-off takes an unexpected turn. But propaganda aside, the true genius of Eisentstein’s vision can be summed up in its climactic bloodbath scene shot on the great steps of Odessa when the military began firing indiscriminately into a crowd of peaceful protestors. Directing hundreds of extras into a coherent pandemonium you can sense the panic and horror as rifles go off and bodies fall leaving us with two iconic images: a distraught woman confronts the Czar’s forces while cradling her dying child, and a baby carriage careens down endless flights of concrete steps after the child’s mother falls prey to a bullet. I wonder what Eisenstein would make of Communism’s modern legacy.

Dec 15, 2014

Black and white silent film with Russian print dialogue and English subtitles.

Good action movie about revolution. Intense. I liked it a lot.
A classic.

Sep 23, 2013

Quite a bold leap from Eisenstein, certain to convey empowering thoughts to those oppressed. It was of no surprise to learn from the accompanying documentary that it was censored by the dictators of the period, as they undoubtedly viewed it as inciting dissidence... Frankly, I'm shocked that the fascists even allowed it to see the light of day (or the dark of theaters).

Feb 16, 2013

For 8 decades, Sergei Eisenstein's 1925 masterpiece has remained the most influential silent film of all time.
Each successive gerenation has, however, seen "Battleship Potemkin" subjecyed to censorship and recutting.
Accordingly, its unforgettable power diluted in unauthorized public domain editions from dubious sources.
Kino International of New York joined German and Russian Production companies in presenting this new restoration of "Battleship Potemkin."
DISC ONE includes "Tracing Battleship Potemkin"---a 42-minute documentary on the making and restoration of the film.
This documentary is quite informative and interesting.


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Sep 23, 2013

Sailor (of the rotten meat he and his shipmates are forced to consume): "It could crawl overboard on its own!" Dr. Smirnov (inspecting the putrid meat): "These aren't worms! They are dead fly larvae. You can wash them off with brine!"


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