On this day – 14th of June

14 June 2013

Although one may find it hard to assess the immediate legacy of events which took place on the Battleship Potemkin on the 14th of June 1905. The symbolic value of this date has been amplified through the popularisation of the cinematography of one of Russia’s earliest and most influential directors. While it is perhaps true that Sergei Eisenstein’s 1925 Battleship Potemkin may not engender much resonance among contemporary taste; the immediate internal reception of Eisenstein’s labours was matched by international acclaim. Despite the failure of the events in real life on the 14th of June 1905 to provoke any sustained uprising to the Tsarist regime; Eisenstein’s depiction of events served only to ignite greater support for Soviet intentions.  Eisenstein’s well calculated combination of fact and fiction nourished a welcoming Soviet public with the further legitimation the deposition of Nicholas II. Although, on occasion one may not be ill-advised to accuse Eisenstein of fictitious nonsense, this is perhaps not enough to omit the director from his effortlessly justifiable international acclamation. Whilst often being denoted as one of the best propaganda film of all time, the films greatest accreditation is undoubtedly its award in 1958 at the Brussels World Fair. At which Eisenstein’s film was entitled “the greatest film ever made”. The film depicts a short and bloody period in the perennial paradigm which is pre-war Europe. The silent nature of the film does nothing to remove the viewer from the sympathetic sentiment induced by the director’s brilliant depiction of inequality enforced upon the fraternally united sailors. If you have an interest in Russian history, Eisenstein’s 1925 film the Battleship Potemkin (Броненосец «Потёмкин») is definitely worth watching. Whilst few better examples of cinematography exist, an interest in early film may be satisfied by viewing other Eisenstein productions, such as Strike (Стачка), which also displays Eisenstein’s famous montage techniques.   James Fox is an English student, a current intern and studying Russian at Liden & Denz St. Petersburg

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