The primary source I have chosen to research is Battleship Potemkin, a silent film directed by Sergei Eisenstein. The silent film was created in 1925 and formally released in Russia. It was commissioned by the Central Executive Committee as a way to commemorate the Russian Revolution of 1905. In June of 1905, the sailors aboard the warship, Potemkin, revolted against their officers after they were given spoiled meat riddled with maggots. The revolt lead to a full-scale mutiny that killed the Captain and a well-known crewman, Vakulenchuk. The people of Odessa, a nearby port, heard about Vakulenchuk’s death and rallied with the sailors. Czar Nicholas II responded to the riots by sending out his troops to Odessa. The aftermath left thousands of Odessan civilians dead.

Eisenstein dramatizes and honors these events through his silent film. And through the film, he develops the Theory of Montage, an editing technique that splices different shots together in hopes to conjure up a certain emotion from the viewer. Act IV: Odessa Steps sequence is one of the most iconic moments in the film.

 

I first saw this sequence in high school and was amazed at the scale of the film. Coordinating the flight of hundreds of people and simulating the violence without the use of CGI is not an easy feat. Not only that but being able to capture the emotions of a protest, and perfectly shape it in a way that emotionally moves a group of people is beyond me.

 

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