To what extent do we trust the Bronenosets Potyomkin (Battleship Potemkin)?

Essay by KeirHigh School, 11th grade April 2006

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"Battleship Potemkin" is a motion picture so we can automatically assume that as a source, there are limitations. There are fabricated scenes such as the most famous scene in the movie, the "Odessa Steps". The massacre did occur but nowhere near the steps of Odessa. And there are most likely events that did happen during the mutiny that Eisenstein chose to leave out. Battleship Potemkin was directed by Eisenstein who came from a Jewish middle class family. Eisenstein studied at Petrograd's Institute of Civil Engineering. After the Civil War he went to Moscow, intending to study Japanese art. Eisenstein studied under Vsevolod Meyerhold. After his film "Strike" came out in 1925, Eisenstein was presented with a new project, "Bronenosets Potyomkin". The film took four months to finish and is one of the greatest cinematic masterpieces in history.

Almost every piece of art created during the lifespan of the Soviet Union had hints of propaganda.

This film regarding the 1905 Revolution was purely for propaganda purposes. One of his goals was to test the effects of music and emotion on an audience. This film is was the first place we saw the usage of rhythmic editing (montage). Eisenstein carefully edited the movie so there was an assortment of swift camera movement, close-ups for the purpose of perspective and shock effects, varying lengths to contribute to the rhythm. Even the commentary was selected to appear in appropriate scenes to add to the overall emotional feel of the movie. The thing I find most shocking about this movie is how, although it is a silent film, it characterizes the people in the scenes. Eisenstein managed through close-ups to give each performer an identity. This movie was a chance for Eisenstein to test his cinematic theories.

With every piece of...