Battleship Potomkin Essay

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Revolutionary Politics in Sergei Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin
In 1925 Soviet filmmaker Sergei M. Eisenstein’s revolutionary propaganda film Bronenosets Potyomkin was released, commonly known in the West as Battleship Potemkin. The film is based upon historical events, namely the mutiny on the signature naval ship that was part of the Russian revolution in 1905. However, Eisenstein did take liberties with history, since no massacre ever took place on the ‘Steps of Odessa’. The film was voted to be the greatest film of all time at the World’s Fair in 1958 in Brussels, Belgium: “Even at the height of the Cold War, spectators would still be captured by its recreation of a spontaneous mutiny on one of the czar’s naval vessels” (Dickstein 91).
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Therefore, it is in this sequence that the viewer is confronted with powerful images, Eisenstein cuts between the panicked faces of the helpless citizens and then to the nameless soldiers marching of the steps with their weapons: “The collision of independent shots – shots even opposite to one another: the “dramatic” principle” (Eisenstein 49). This juxtaposition constitutes as a contradictory argument for the citizens against the dictatorship of the tsarist rule in the Soviet Union. Originally, filmmaker Eisenstein directed Battleship Potemkin as a revolutionary propaganda film, however he also wanted to test his theories about Soviet Montage. In Battleship Potemkin and Beyond it is Dickstein who says; “Eisenstein […] believed that film, as a revolutionary medium, could forward political revolution […], for its techniques could incite popular feeling and bring it to a high pitch” (91). Nonetheless, Eisenstein’s technique, quite similar to Kuleshov’s theory known as the ‘Kuleshov effect’, brought the power of montage to a higher level, consequently making it a efficacious tool for propaganda. Due to its immanent drama filmmakers will naturally be enticed by politics, but possibly also because the stakes
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