Friday, June 17, 2011

#341: Ivan the Terrible, Part One

1944, TSDPT Rank #174

If you were to watch Battleship Potemkin and Ivan the Terrible (both Eisenstein films) back to back, you would be in for quite a surprise. The two films are shot and edited in near completely opposite styles, almost as if Eisenstein was rejecting his old montage theories that made his name for him and made Potemkin one of the greatest masterpieces in film history. This historical epic is nonetheless visually astounding - the entire feel of the proceedings is otherworldly. It reminded me of Fritz Lang's silent epic Die Nibelungen (also released as two films) for its ability to replicate transportation to another time and place - another world. Even if you were not able to follow what is going on in the plot (and it's a little difficult at times), I'd still say it's a film worth watching for the visual splendor. Despite his name of Ivan the Terrible, Ivan is portrayed in this first film as somewhat of a tragic figure. Nearly everyone hates him and is out to kill/destroy him or the few that are close to him. The first film leaves off in preparation for the second, so my review of Ivan the Terrible is incomplete as of now, since I have not yet seen Part Two (also on the 1,000 Greatest Films, of course). That review soon to come.

(Rating: 8/10)

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