Melbourne Cinematheque 2011: Eisenstein (week 3)

11 Apr

Strike

This week at cinematheque – Wednesday 13th– we conclude ACMI’s retrospective of Eisenstein with a viewing of Strike, October: Ten Days That Shook the World and the short-film Bezhin Meadow. Strike was Eisenstein’s first feature film, being shot prior to The Battleship Potemkin in 1925 and is the case study used by Eisenstein in his seminal written theory on montage- ‘Montage of Attractions’. The film tells the story of an attempted workers strike under tsarist rule and the subsequent results for those involved in the uprising whilst sharing many thematic and technical elements with The Battleship Potemkin.

Bezhin

Having been condemned by the Stalinist regime as being anti-Soviet, anti-Stalin and containing political failures, Eisenstein’s short film Bezhin Meadow was then believed to have been destroyed by air raids in World War II. Resurfacing in the 1960s the film has been reconstructed and survives to tell the tale of a farming father and his son who fully supports the Soviet’s collective farming practice, whilst the father wishes to sabotage this for materialistic and political gain.

Lastly is October: Ten Days That Shook the World, made in 1928 to celebrate a decade of communist rule after the October Revolution in 1917. Ironically enough the film was criticised by the State for not being clear enough for the masses, had to be significantly edited because of its mentions of Leon Trotsky (by now an enemy of the State that he had helped to create) and for its portrayal of Lenin. Nevertheless, it captures the events of 1917 alongside a whirlwind of dream-like camerawork and abstract visual analogies.

October

See the rest of Eleanor’s coverage of Cinematheque by selecting ‘Melbourne Cinematheque’ in the category drop down to your right.

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