Flush from the success of THE BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN, Eisenstein undertook to refine and develop his ideas of film language, in particular of what he called “Intellectual Montage”. This form of editing put together shots of things without obvious relation so as to foster comparisons between them. Emotional, abstracted, multilayered, this film is a torrent, a roaring onslaught from start to finish that bewildered Soviet audiences and brought crashing censure from the government. Originally commissioned to commemorate the Revolution, a revolution of the collective, it became a conduit for the personal visions of a powerful filmmaker. As you watch this, certain things may be beyond your knowing, as with any film rooted in the events of the distant past. A great film, in any case.
About the director: Sergei Eisenstein (1898-1948) can hardly be overestimated in terms of his influence on early cinema. Not only did he make some of the best films the world has seen, but his was a probing intellect of the highest echelon. His film theories touch on every facet of existence, filling the pages of his many books. One such, EISENSTEIN ON DISNEY (1986), posthumously published, has a priceless photograph of the man shaking hands with Mickey Mouse (!) and reams of incisive thought. The KMC has a copy – go see it. His oeuvre includes THE BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN (1925) and IVAN THE TERRIBLE (Part 1, 1944).