Battleship potemkin film analysis essay

BattleShip Potemkin Analytical Essay ..

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The Battleship Potemkin Community Note includes chapter-by-chapter summary and analysis, character list, theme list, historical context, author biography and

Battleship potemkin analytical essay

But, for all of that, here's a question I should remember to ask myself as I'm going through this process: did I like it? It's a tricky question: the film nerd in me got positively giddy during certain parts of Battleship Potemkin, and—even from a completely non-academic, non-analytical place—the Odessa Steps sequence is a powerhouse. At the same time, however, I'm a big fan of story, and a big fan of characterization, and Potemkin has little of the first and none of the second.

Battleship potemkin montage analysis essay aiish digital ..

What makes Battleship Potemkin such a favorite of film students is that it is possible to do meaningful shot-by-shot analysis of the entire film: there are no accidents here, and the composition of every frame is carefully planned to work with—and often against—the frames around it, and visually echo back to other shots in the film. I can't begin to do detailed analysis here, but it's helpful to look at just a few examples.

battleship potemkin analytical essay

Battleship potemkin montage analysis essay essay on ..

You may suspect from this summary that I am grossly oversimplifying the story, but I'm not: that is the story. There are no sub-plots, no tangents, no romances or villainous schemes or comedic diversions: it's not that kind of movie. One of the most surprising and disorienting things about watching Battleship Potemkin is the realization that, in fact, the movie has no characters, at least not in the sense that we are accustomed to. There are people in the movie, of course, but there is no individual hero, no single villain, and nothing in the way of character development or arcs: our expectation to have a point-of-view character, or to identify with a hero, is totally thwarted. (The closest thing we have to a hero is Vakulinchuk—played by Alexandr Antonov—and he dies at the end of Act II.)

Battleship potemkin montage analysis essay the case for torture essay

For a demonstration of his theories in practice, we should look, finally, at Battleship Potemkin. As with most films in the public domain, there are several versions of the movie available for free online, and—as with most such films—their quality varies wildly. (With such movies I usually embed the full film here, but I can't recommend any of the versions on YouTube with a clear conscience.) I highly recommend watching the Kino Restoration, which restores all of Eisenstein's original shots and title cards, including material that was cut by the German censors. It is available but is also streaming on (free with subscription) and for rental on .


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I won't try to summarize much further the bizarre history of the film and its battles with censors over its political content—which has led to so many heavily-edited versions—but what has become more important than Potemkin’s message is the legacy of its aesthetics. The Berlin premiere in April 1926 was a smash success, and among the audience members were American film giants Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, who recognized in Eisenstein's film a radical new approach to movie-making. Fairbanks later called it "the most powerful and the most profound emotional experience in my life," and it was he and Pickford who enthusiastically introduced Potemkin to the film community of America: first at a private screening for friends at Gloria Swanson's home, and then at various screening rooms for industry leaders, and finally in theaters. After one screening for Hollywood bigwigs, Photoplay reported that "nobody went Bolshevik, but a lot of people left with some revolutionary ideas of filmmaking."

Battleship potemkin movie analysis essay - bold-typecomau

(Once again, I'll be watching the Kino DVD, but there are many versions on YouTube, and a couple of versions streaming on Netflix, including the 1984 Giorgio Moroder restoration with the pop-synth soundtrack by '80s bands; I'm going to stick with the Kino restoration initially, but I must admit I'm curious to experience it with music by Freddy Mercury and Adam Ant.) Then, in the next few weeks, I'll be watching Carl Theodore Dryer’s (1928), and—I think—the movie that knocked Battleship Potemkin out of the Sight & Sound Top 10, Dziga Vertov's (1929).