Sergei Eisenstein: October

To learn more about the film theory of the Russian director Sergei Eisenstein, I had the great opportunity to see his third movie made in 1928, from the silent period in film history.
The Danish Film Institute have Eisenstein on their program this month.
Yesterday I saw “October: Ten Days That Shook the World.” It is a celebratory dramatization of the 1917 October Revolution commissioned for the tenth anniversary of the event. The film which depicting the storming of the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg, were censored and cut down by order from Stalin.
A live soundtrack accompanied the film played live by German Axel Dörner (trumpet) and Bukhard Beins (Percussion).

The film is a tribute to the Bolsheviks and appears in many ways as propaganda.
I wasn’t that focused on the story or message; I focused more on compositions, editing, lighting, and rhythm.

Eisenstein is famous for his creation of mass scenes; October is no exception – demonstrations, soldiers, and the storming of the Winter Palace. Lots of people acting the historical scenes at the actual locations where the revolution took place ten years before. Many of the cast had participated in the revolution and the storming of the Winter Palace.

Some particular scenes stay in my mind, example; when those in power open the bridge, to isolate people from the working class district – the camera cuts between a dead white horse and a dead girl both laying in the middle of the bridge when the leaf of the bridge goes up. Because of the amount of cuts and different angles, it felt like the scene was in slow motion. The scene ends with the white horse hanging in its harness for a dramatical moment and then falling into the water.

There was no use of camera movement; editing and people- and object movement created the tension and dynamic.
The composition in each scene was thoughtful made (light, shadow, depth, and point of attention) and could stand alone as pictures.
Eisenstein worked as a stage designer on theaters before film making.

The musician’s audio interpretation added a contemporary and artistic element to the whole experience.

Eisenstein on the audiovisual, Robert Robertsen

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