Friday, September 2, 2011

October: Ten Days That Shook the World (Eisenstein. 1928)

"We have the right to be proud that to us fell the good fortune of beginning the building of the Soviet State and, by doing so, opening a new chapter in the history of the world."


From the start of Sergi Eisenstein's October the audience can tell that they are watching something dramatic. This is a film that chronicles the events of the Russian revolution in the early 20th century.In other words, this is another pro-Bolshevik film that was commissioned by the Soviet government to honor themselves.

Eisenstein was chosen to direct this documentary of sorts because of the national acclaim he had gathered from The Battleship Potemkin, but this film did not match the international success. For years, film snobs and movie nerds have discussed why this film did not reach the same massive audience. For me it was simply an uninteresting film. I am not a Soviet. And though I respect their culture, Eisenstein's frantic shooting style was confusing for me due to my lack of cultural understanding.

Though the story was relativity lost on me, the style of the brilliant Russian director was extremely noticeable. His entire concept of the "intellectual montage" was put on display throughout October. He believed that montage is "an idea that arises from the collision of independent thoughts [wherein]each sequential element is perceived not next to the other, but on top of the other".

Seeing the film on Netflix.com may have been a mistake. As pretentious as it has apparently become, I legitimately enjoy a well made silent film. The version that is available on instant has been reedited and severely Americanized. I was forced to wonder how much of the original film I was even seeing. This did not make the film any more or less entertaining, but it did make the film easier to get lost in.

October is not a boring film. It is leaps and bounds more entertaining than Earth. It is also a neat venture into the romanticized history of Russian government. I guess my only issue is that it seems to be targeted at only a 1928 Soviet audience. The film is dated, unlike Potemkin.

October: C

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