Battleship Potemkin (1925)

How about something old?

And Classic?

What about revolution?

How'd you like that?

Shall we mix it up and see what comes out?

Even though I prefer old movies, I avoid almost anything that passes the year 1930. You guessed it right, silent movies. I don't hate the silent era; I just find it hard to concentrate on them, which is one of the reasons why though I have seen quite a few old movies but almost never went that way. So, if I count, maybe there are just 4 or 5 silent movies so far, excluding this one. The first silent movie that I'm writing about and there are "stuffs" that I'm doing for the first time. For that, I bring you Battleship Potemkin (1925) by director Sergei Eisenstein.

Battleship Potemkin (1925)


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As much as I try to gather historical knowledge, here I am with bare minimum information of Russian Revolution. Why am I saying that? You're not here for a history lesson but for the film. The revolution is related to the film and the subject. If you look at the cast of the film, as many people had participated, it wasn't a heavy star-studded one. Except for Aleksandr Antonov and Grigori Aleksandrov, the rest of the crew are the citizens, theater actors and also sailors from the Navy. I enjoyed the fact that the citizens participated in the film, and that's perhaps the reason the movie wasn't focused on a single actor but all of them.


The Plot

The plot surrounds the Battleship Potemkin and it's crew and was set in the year 1905, shortly before the revolution. There was an actual battleship named Potemkin which was scrapped in 1923. Hmm, what did happen in that ship to turn it into a film?

The plot is divided into acts as theaters do and consists of five acts. As you know, I'll not be explaining the whole plot to you but make you understand some of it; hence I'll not mention each of the acts but the film as a whole.

Mutiny

Mutiny

Mutiny

Yes, it's about the mutiny, in the form of revolution, that took place in that battleship. It is said that the crews' rebellion in 1905 was pivotal to Russian Revolution and was considered as a wake up call to citizens and soldiers. Yes, even though there were several incidents of uprisings but this rebellion is seen as a first giant step. But just the mutiny on deck isn't all of the story is about.


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It all started with Borscht; no matter how small it appears to be, food can cause a roar like that. And why wouldn't! It's one of the basic necessities. The quality of food was horrible and the sailors couldn't take it anymore. They were handed rotten meat, you can see the maggots eating them. The onboard surgeon was called by the Captain on deck to inspect the quality and he said that it was perfectly fine and the maggots could be washed away with brine. The crew refused to eat borscht cooked of the decomposing flesh and started living on just bread and water. One of the sailors came across a plate where it's inscribed "give us this day our daily bread" and in a fit of rage, he broke it.


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After seeing that the crew refused to eat borscht, the higher officials got angry and the word got to the admiral. A fraction of sailors were separated and it was declared that these few sailors would be facing a firing squad. The squad aimed at the nervous and pleading crew but the officers paid no heed. Just as they were about to get shot, a sailor, Vakulinchuk, called out to the sailors and made them see who they were shooting at; and with that plea, every crew joined together to rebel against the officers. That was an intense moment, I must say.

The crew took over the ship but Vakulinchuk died at the hands of an officer. The sailors brought the ship closer to the shores of Odessa with a red flag to put Vakulinchuk to his final rest. His dead body was put on display on the shore of Odessa with the sign "For a spoonful of borscht." His death gave rise to a bigger turmoil that changed everything.

There is more, so much more, but I cannot say.


My Thoughts

What I mostly like about old movies is the technological barrier. I do enjoy the latest movies as well but they somehow manage to compromise the essence of the film through their overly used special effects; that's where the old movies excel. These films focus more on the stories and how they get played out rather than the use of FX. Let's just say Old is Gold.


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This has been an entirely different experience. If a scene is hilarious, the chances are I'd laugh a little, but never do I ever get startled while watching a scary movie nor do tears start dropping from my eyes while an emotional scene is on screen. This time I cried and for good reasons; there were some moments where I felt it was so intense and my mind kept on saying "how can they do that," "dreadful." I still feel a sort of burden over myself. How can I explain what I felt about this film! Never have I ever imagined that my emotions would be heightened or feel overwhelmed and that too a silent movie. And you can say even now I'm trying my best to compose myself.

I always say "you may try and check it out" in the end but this time I would insist that you watch it, if not now then later. Take your time but put this on your list.

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