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Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Battleship Potemkin (1925)

The Battleship Potemkin is a classic Russian movie, released in 1925. It is a silent movie, also known by another name 'he Battleship Potyomkin' as well as by the Russian name of 'Bronyenosyets Potyomkin'. The movie was directed by Sergei Eisenstein, and was based on the real life story of the actual crew of the Russian naval ship of the same name during 1905, oppressed by the naval officers of the Tsarist regime that was ruling Russia around that time.
The movie has been so famous that the history of the ship is defined more by the movie rather than by history books. The movie was famous also for its graphic violence (not seen in movies of that time) as well as to be a propaganda movie to get sympathy for the crew of the ship. This attempt worked so well on viewers that the Nazi propaganda spinner, Joseph Goebbels, was very admiring of the movie for its attempt to sell a political story in a simple yet powerful way.

The Battleship Potemkin (1925)

The zeal of the movie director to sway audiences imparted a revolutionary approach that caused the movie to run afoul of sensors in many countries, with the movie either banned or scenes cut; it was only over a period of time that the movie was restored with cut sections to audiences all over. The movie had some classic scenes, but the most striking was the scene of the Czar's Cossack soldiers marching down steps (the Odessa steps) and firing into the crowd of civilians who had come to watch the ship arrive.
The movie takes the true story of the rebellion on board the Russian naval ship Battleship Potemkin in the year 2005. There was discontent against the oppressive officers of the Tzar, and there was a plan to have an uprising. However, the uprising was started earlier on the battle-ship when the sailors protested against having to eat maggot infested meat that the ship's officers and doctor had certified as being fit for human consumption. This was the first element of the movie, with the movie being essentially divided into 5 parts:
1. Men and maggots
2. Drama at the harbour: The sailors rise up and their leader, Vakulynchuk, is killed
3. A dead man calls for Justice: The civilians at Odessa mourn the dead
4. The massacre of civilians at Odessa where the Czar's soldiers kill the civilians on the steps
5. "The Rendez-Vous with a Squadron where the squadron joins the sailors instead of crushing them
After the mutiny, the sailors go different ways. The ones who returned or were induced to return were executed or jailed, and the others went to different countries such as Romania, Argentina and Ireland.

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