Friday, August 5, 2011

Battleship Potemkin

In 1905 the crew members of the Russian battleship Potemkin were fed up with their maggot ridden meat rations and decided it was time to rise up against the officers of the ship. After overtaking their boat and pulling into Odessa, word of their rebellion spread and ignited the revolutionary spirit. Soon the Czar sent his troops to quell the uprising and many protesters and innocents alike were slaughtered. The revolution continued leading up to the Bolshevik uprising of 1917. Sergei Eisenstein's Battleship Potemkin has often been referred to as the greatest film ever made, and it is certainly one of the most electrically charged. From its kinetically edited scenes, which seem impossible to have been made for its time (I mean how many cameras did he have at his disposal in 1926 Russia?), we can see the seeds for the films of Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, Quentin Tarantino, and others. Filmed in beautiful black and white, its scenes of uprising are rousing and incredible. The Odessa staircase scene, where the baby carriage with baby in tow glides slowly down the stairs, is one of the most famous film sequences and rightly so. Battleship Potemkin is a superior film and during its editing process, Sergei Eisenstein must have surely invented some new techniques that would inspire generations of filmmakers to come.