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50 classic films: Legendary maggots
The mass of people was just invented at the time. She replaced the hero. Hero was a bourgeoisie. Mass avant-garde. With that began the miserable twentieth century. The Russian director Sergej Eisenstein, Marxist, Freudian, dialectical materialist, was her first cinematic prophet. The Armored cruiser Potemkin he shot in 1925 on behalf of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Young Soviet Union. An ordered propaganda film. Evil tongues could claim what Riefenstahl was to the Nazis and Eisenstein to the Soviets (Goebbels held the Armored cruiser for an unparalleled work of art). But that is definitely going too far.
The dramatic event: the revolt of the mass of sailors because of rotten meat rations (the legendary maggots!) On the tsarist battleship Prince Potemkin on the morning of June 27, 1905, the heroic solidarity of the people of Odessa, the bloody suppression of the uprising (the legendary staircase scene!), the triumphant departure of the cruiser from the port.
A silent film. The plot and the acting ability are still close to the puppet theater. The mutinous sailors (the legendary amateur actors!) Roll their eyes and wave their arms as if they had to kill the evil Seppl. The tsarist officers charge as if the task was to push open the gate to hell. The opposites clash hard and clearly. Black and white, good and bad, up and down, long shots and details, people and technology, sleeping and shooting, fraternization and oppression, allegiance and insurrection. As I said: dialectical materialism. A bit like a museum.
Still a terrific film, the best film of all time, was claimed again and again. And really, eighty years later, the magic of the staircase scene has not faded, you tremble with the little worm that rumbles down the long flight of stairs in the stroller between the people shot, parsing your mother, who dies painfully slowly in close-up, is shocked when she one carries her dead child in her arms and the other lacks the eye. The cuts sharply thwart any hint of epic. The camera staggers from big to small, from feet on cannons to faces on the lost glasses of a dead person (the legendary pars-pro-toto technique!). The choreography is great, the dancing dining trays, the rocking hammocks, the sailing dinghies, the ballet of things and people. The euphoria about the dawning machine age, the pride in the triumphant erect cannon barrels, the black steaming chimneys, the energetic pistons and pressure gauges are touching. At that time the technology was still on the right side. Nevertheless - long before the design age - the objects were still free and independent, perhaps even the secret heroes in their own lives. Siegfried Kracauer repeatedly referred to the "telling indeterminacy of the images" in this film. What a praise should be. It was all a long time ago.
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