Welcome to The Daily Cup a movie blog/writing project by Kyle B. Dekker, presented by Hot Chocolate Media. You can read series concept here. The basic rules, Kyle must watch 365 movies in 2018 and write about all of them. 292 of them have to be movies he's never seen before. Thanks for reading.
As a film fan and a filmmaker there are always films that many consider “must watch” films. Many of these come from classic Hollywood or are even older. Since filmmaking is a relatively young art, these early films (which are just now becoming 100 years old) often pioneer techniques that are now considered standard, or required for a quality film, they are landmarks in cinema history. Today’s film is one such landmark, Sergei M. Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin (1925).
The first silent film I’ve watched during my quest to watch 365 films in one year. Battleship Potemkin is the story about the mutiny on board a Russian Battleship in 1905 during the first Russian Revolution. Based on true events it follows the growing unrest on the ship, the mutiny, and the fallout and government response to the mutiny. The film is split up into five distinct acts, each one showcasing a different critical part of the story surrounding the mutiny.
The visuals and storytelling of this film really hold up. The close ups of maggoty meat that the Russian sailors are expected to eat are positively stomach turning, even in black and white. The use of all of the shapes and geometry on the ship make those shots pop and look impressive. Close ups of the actors convey so much character information, even without dialogue. And the whole thing is driven by a musical score that is very Russian and very appropriate.
The most impressive of the five acts is also the most famous. The citizens of Odessa rally to the heroism of the sailors who rose up against tyranny. Holding up the slain Bolshevik leader of the mutiny as a hero, they take to the streets in protest. There they are met in violence by Imperial Marines and Cossack cavalry. And a intense and violent montage of the Imperial forces marching on the citizens like a machine, killing men, women, and children alike. The visuals in this sequence are haunting and beautiful in their violence. You can feel the terror and the loss in those black and white frames. The most iconic shot is of a baby carriage rolling down the stairs amidst the chaos. I always knew Brian de Palma put an reference to Battleship Potemkin in The Untouchables, so it was cool to see the original.
To be honest I found this film a bit boring at times, but was in complete awe of the visuals achieved with 1925 filmmaking technology. To thing that Eisenstein is the man to thank for the montage in films is pretty damn cool. And to think he did it with a historical film that was also a patriotic call to arms for the early Soviet Union, that’s event cooler. If you consider yourself a film buff, this is a must watch, and deserves it revered place in history.
Movies new to me watched: 19/292
Other movies: 7/73
Total movies watched: 26/365
Have your own thoughts or opinions on this movie? Comment below or contact Kyle at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @kbdekker.