Wednesday, August 11, 2010

#260: Battleship Potemkin

1925, TSPDT Rank #7

The greatest political film ever made, and the highest silent film on this list, is Battleship Potemkin. It's pure Bolshevik propaganda, and its characters are clearly divided into the Tsarists and those against them. By this rationale of good and evil, anyone against the Tsarists is good, and the Tsarists themselves are most certainly evil. The greatness of this film is its unbelievable power to invoke emotion in favor of the revolutionaries and against the Tsarists. It is indeed one of the most influential films in terms of editing technique, to the point where even if you haven't actually seen Potemkin, you've seen enough scenes, shots, and cuts taken from it that you'll feel like you've seen Potemkin before. The emotion you feel so strongly is all in the editing and the camerawork - you might not know a thing about the Russian Revolution, or care in the slightest about the events that led up to it and the people who played a part in it - but you will still be affected by it. It's so essential, and completely undeniable. Before you can claim to have any substantial understanding of the art of film, you need to see Potemkin!

(Rating: 10/10)

EDIT (3/22/2020): In the years since this review was written, Battleship Potemkin has now been outranked by F.W. Murnau's Sunrise, meaning that it is no longer the highest ranking silent film on the 1,000 Greatest Films.

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