Bronenosets Potemkin [Battleship Potemkin] (1925)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Bronenosets Potemkin</strong> [<strong class="MovieTitle">Battleship Potemkin</strong>] (1925)

(On Cable TV, February 2019) Some of the most groundbreaking cinema of the 1920s was coming out of the Soviet Union, and while Battleship Potemkin isn’t quite the experience that Man with a Camera remains, it’s still quite an instructive example of the far more daring school of editing that was in vogue around Moscow back then. Best known today for its Odessa Steps sequence, this is a film about an urban uprising. It’s violent, dramatic, action-packed, and this is no mere hyperbole: The density of editing cuts approaches modern action movies at time. Obviously made by writer/director Sergei Eisenstein as an epic victory-for-the-proletariat propaganda piece, it does remain spectacular at time while mixing fancy camera moves with fast-paced editing. It’s well worth a look for movie history buffs, although I’d be more cautious in recommending it for general audiences—while the Odessa Steps sequence remains impressive, the rest of the film can be a chore to get through despite the technical innovation. It’s a measure of its success that much of Battleship Potemkin now simply feels adequate rather than groundbreaking.

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