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Q: Reviews of Silent Film and Film Makers? ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: Reviews of Silent Film and Film Makers?
Category: Arts and Entertainment > Movies and Film
Asked by: karenbryson-ga
List Price: $25.50
Posted: 30 Nov 2003 09:04 PST
Expires: 30 Dec 2003 09:04 PST
Question ID: 281897
How did Sergei Eisenstein used editing to show conflict in the scenes
of his film clasic "The Battleship Potemkin?
Subject: Re: Reviews of Silent Film and Film Makers?
Answered By: journalist-ga on 30 Nov 2003 10:11 PST
Greetings Karenbryson:

Sergei Eisenstein developed the art/technique of montage and used it
extremely effectively in "The Battleship Potemkin."  Below you will
find various commentaries regarding his use of it to relate conflict
in the film.

"Eisenstein developed a system of editing techniques, called montage,
through which he made complex statements visually rather than through
dialogue. His most famous sequences, the massacre on the Odessa steps
in Potemkin and the rising of the drawbridge in October (1927), were
composed of hundreds of shots edited according to his precise

"Much like his famous Odessa Steps sequence in Battleship Potemkin,
the famous director communicates a sense of the chaos through a
montage that combines large scale shots, a slowly rising bridge with
dead horse attached, more intimate shots of a woman with hair draped
over the bridge, and a fallen corpse. Individually many of these shots
would appear to be lifted from a surrealistic Goya painting, but taken
as a whole it makes sense and can only be Eisenstein. This bridge
montage stands as the highlight of the historic film."

"So he invented a new kind of editing that interwove discordant images
into the flow of action to create what he called a "montage of
attractions": odd, striking juxtapositions that modulate the film?s
rhythm and put the viewer in a psychological state capable of inducing
certain ideas. In the famous scene from "Potemkin" (1925), for
example, the Odessa Steps provide the backdrop for images of
desperately fleeing citizens, close-ups of faces and guns, and
attacking soldiers. As it depicted the tragic events of the 1905
Russian Revolution, the cacophonous montage induced in its audiences a
state of terror and outrage that gave rise to several conflicts with
the police."

"Unlike many other of Eisenstein's films, "Potemkin" (1925) appealed
to everyone: intellectuals, the masses, state officials. Whereas his
earlier "Strike" (1924) alienated audiences by ignoring narrative
continuity in favor of a kind of visual poem, "Potemkin" softened the
discord of montage with a cohesive narrative. In a sense, it
exemplifies the synthesis between avant-garde techniques and political
polemic that Eisenstein was always struggling to achieve. In 1958, ten
years after Eisenstein's death, an international poll determined that
"Potemkin" was the best film of all time."

"In a 1939 essay on BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN, he wrote, "If we wish the
spectator to experience a maximum emotional upsurge, to send him into
ecstasy, we must offer him a suitable 'formula' which will eventually
excite the desirable emotions in him...BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN survives as
a superbly made movie, and its extraordinary 6-minute "Odessa steps"
sequence remains among history's most brilliant pieces of cinema."

"The crowd scenes are superbly handled, especially the Odessa Steps
segment, with a channeling of the mob's power into the rapid montage

"Countless directors have made reference to the scene in the Odessa
Steps with the baby carriage."

"The best example of these startling effects is contained in the
famous "Odessa steps" montage sequence of Potemkin, a segment of film
that greatly influenced the language of cinema. Using a long flight of
steps as his setting, he intercut close-ups of guns and faces with
scenes of fleeing civilians and attacking soldiers to depict the
slaughter of the populace by the czar's troops and the Cossacks during
the revolution of 1905."

"'The film contains in the massacre on the Odessa Steps (an invention
of Eisenstein's)--one of the most memorable and exciting sequences in
all cinema. The rapid montage, and the effects devised by using a
trolley and a camera strapped to the waist of an acrobat, still take
the breath away. The film that put Soviet Cinema and Eisenstein on the
international map.'? Holt?s Foreign Film Guide"

"...developed creatively after 1925 by the Russian Sergei Eisenstein;
since that time montage has become an increasingly complex and
inventive way of extending the imaginative possibilities of film art."

You may want to examine a copy of "The Film Sense"
"The theory of "montage" or editing, developed by early Soviet
filmmakers, reached its deepest expression in the writings of Sergeii
Eisenstein, undeniably the most profound theorist of film art. This
book contains the clearest and most accessible introduction to his
ideas about the cinema. Eisenstein, who directed "The Battleship
Potemkin" and "Alexander Nevsky," was a master propagandist as well as
a superb filmmaker. In this book, he argues passionately that these
two crafts are closely related."
[used copies available from $6.60]

Should you require any clarification of the links or information I
have provided, please request it before rating and closing this
question and I will be happy to respond.

Best regards,


"Sergei Eisenstein" film techniques
"Sergei Eisenstein" editing potemkin
"Sergei Eisenstein" montage potemkin
"the Odessa steps" montage
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