Friday, December 4, 2009

THE BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN (Russian) (1925)

Two landmark and equally classic films made 1925 very special year in the history of cinema. Along with Chaplin’s eternal satirical masterpiece ‘The Gold Rush’, the revolution of Sergei Eisenstein’s experimental modern visuals shocked and surprised the world of cinema. Though both of these films and their directors were almost poles apart in their treatment and subject, they both acknowledged each other’s work. Chaplin claimed ‘Battleship Potemkin’ as his favorite one. However Eisenstein considered Chaplin as ‘just kid in his approach to cinema’ after watching his ‘The Kid’. But later he watched his ‘The Gold Rush’ and stated that the kid became mature now.

No propaganda film is as politically and visually striking and original as ‘Battleship Potemkin’. Made with experimental use of montages divided in five parts and based on rebellion plot of 1905’s Russian battleship by the same name, the film even today considered as one of the greatest film ever made. Vakulinchik, a rebel sailor sacrificed himself on Odessa and becomes a cause of uprising of proletariat workers against oppressive Tsarist rulers of Russia. The satire lies in ‘Killed for a plate of soup.’

Eisenstein brought power of striking images with classic use of montages, long shots, close ups and innovative use of light and shadow. One of the finest parts of the film- The Odessa Staircase sequence is landmark and unforgettable experience in cine history and it inspired many great filmmakers like Satyajit Ray, Coppola and Brian De Palma. Infact Palma paid fine homage to it in ‘The Untouchables’. Remember that shoot out sequence where a baby in a carriage falling down on steps while shoot out was going on.

It’s hard to digest the film for today’s generation who seek mere entertainment and watching silent black and white film made more than 80 years ago demands a hell lot of patience as audience of the day but Classic never fade in and fade out.
Essential for all serious cinebuffs.

2 comments:

abhishek said...

hi hiren,
I am writing on ur blog after a long time. Just read ur review on one of the most talked movie ever . unfortunately, I haven’t seen it yet, though I have the movie for a long time. And after reading ur review I did want to say “what a review, SERGEI!!!” but u know hiren, somehow, its seems like I am reading some news report on the movie. It is full of wiki type facts, but it is not the usual hiren dave world stuff, where we come to know abt the movie’s finer nuances, or explanation of few scenes, which u admired in the movie. though it has one “staircase” thing, but its like, went to a hotel, and waiter said- “saab, aaj sab khatam ho chuka hai”. Similar feeling was here when I read it. Very sorry to say this, but I really admire u & ur reviews. so I wrote what I felt.

HIREN DAVE said...

Hi Abhi...
First of all lemme say thanks for this nice gesture of saying what you really felt.It means that atleast i have one dear reader who read my posts and crtiticise me for my good and bad post.

After reading your comment, the first thing i did was -Reading my own review once again and feel your intention. Behind all my words,the explanation of personal experience is terribly missing.It's more seems like first hand primary knowledge of the film.

you know it happens when any creative activity becomes routine, sometime you end up with mediocre stuff or half hearted attempt.Thanks for wake me up. Few months ago one of another dear reader Sushant who follows my blog regularly uttered same thing.

Next time will surely keep in mind your words and ya i have to watch Battleship Potemkin once again to really search value of Eisenstein..

By the way just lemme know about your saying about post on Fellini's LA DOLCE VITA...I took a great pain to write that...I literally sit with pen and paper to register my impressions throughout the film to write that review...waiting for your response...

and ya keep sharing me what u believe no matter you like it or dislike it...will love it both way...Cheers.