In order to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Black Sea Mutiny, in 1925, a movie was commanded by the Bolshevik power, it was to become the prototype of the political movie. Many governments had banned it for fear of revolutionary popular uprisings. In this movie, Sergei Eisenstein pieces together the events of the Black Sea Fleet, even if he takes some liberties with them. This movie is also revolutionary in the manner it has done; shooting script and film montage are still considered as models. The 27th of June 1905, a mutiny broke out on Potemkin board, the main battleship of the Russian fleet. This event took place in Odessa, a port of the Black Sea. A sailor was killed by an officer because he had complained about the rotten meat they had for lunch. The crew rose up. While eight officers joined the mutineers, the commander and several other officers were killed and thrown in the sea. Since the defeat of Tsushima, one month earlier, against Japanese fleet, the tsarist naval officers had many difficulties to be respected from their men. The sailors of the Potemkin took control of the ship and hoisted the revolutionary red flag. Two other ships joined the uprising. Two days later, the insurrection extended to the Odessa's port and other ports from the Empire. The state of siege was declared and then the repression made several hundreds of deaths. After a long wandering in the Black Sea, the majority of the mutineers obtained political asylum in Romania, in Constantza, a Romanian port. This mutiny fell within the series of social, political and military disturbances, which shook the tsarist regime in 1905. Its celebrity comes especially from film that the Russian director Serge Eisenstein in 1925 made from this event; The Battleship Potemkin.
[...] It had so much power, its music so captivating, that even in U.S.S.R., it was banned. The Stalin's centralised power believed it could incite audiences to action. The movie was good for the propaganda of the 1925's power but after, the Bolshevik power, strongly in place, did not need to justificate and promote Revolution, but needed to keep and consolidate its acquisitions against the enemies and the proletariat which could follow the example of the Potemkin's mutineers. [...]
[...] The russian Revolution: the battleship Potemkin by Sergei Eisenstein Introduction In order to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Black Sea Mutiny, in 1925, a movie was commanded by the Bolshevik power, it was to become the prototype of the political movie. Many governments had banned it for fear of revolutionary popular uprisings. In this movie, Sergei Eisenstein pieces together the events of the Black Sea Fleet, even if he takes some liberties with them. This movie is also revolutionary in the manner it has done; shooting script and film montage are still considered as models. [...]
[...] In order to justify the revolt, the living conditions are shown as very bad. All the crew crammed into a room with only hammocks for sleeping, whereas the officers' flats are very sumptuous; piano, carpets, candle- sticks . These wide differences are shown to made the audience more class- consciousness, and aware about the inevitable class war leading to the Socialist Revolution. Eisenstein tackles also the religion (Orthodox Christian) in two scenes. In the first one, three sailors are washing the officers' dishes, much more luxurious than the crew's ones, in one plates there is written the Christian sentence: “Give us this day our daily bread”. [...]
[...] The first act, the exposure, shows us the poor conditions of the Potemkin's crew which has only rotten meat to eat. The second shows us the revolt and how the mutineers have taken up the ship, in spite of the officers. With the third act, the Potemkin makes stopover at Odessa's port where the population, revolted by the death of the leader Vakulinchuk, sympathizes with the mutineers and claims his support. The fourth act, in answer to the second, utilizes the Cossack army, which draws wildly in crowd in rout in the legendary scene from the steps from Odessa (which actually has never existed). [...]
[...] but also abroad, the export of the Revolution, with the help of the National Communist parties. At the same time of a powerful propaganda, censorship ruled information in Soviet Union, Sergei Eisenstein himself was one of its victim, he made ten movies, but he could not finish three of them because of the Bolshevik censorship. All his works were affected by the political ideas, censored or made for propaganda, but in spite of its political goals and targets, the Battleship Potemkin, his third movie, made while he was only 27 years old, is one of the fundamental landmarks of cinema. [...]
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