The greatest Soviet film of the silent era. An iconic film with some of the most popular images in the history of cinema.
The film is set in June 1905; the protagonists of the film are the members of the crew of the Potemkin, a battleship of the Imperial Russian Navy's Black Sea Fleet. Eisenstein divided the plot into five acts, each with its own title.
On the 20th anniversary of the first Russian revolution, the commemorative commission of the Central Executive Committee decided to stage a number of performances dedicated to the revolutionary events of 1905. As part of the celebrations, it was suggested that a "... grand film shown in a special program, with an oratory introduction, musical (solo and orchestral) and a dramatic accompaniment based on a specially written text". Nina Agadzhanova was asked to write the script and direction of the picture was assigned to 27-year-old Sergei Eisenstein.
In the original script, the film was to highlight a number of episodes from the 1905 revolution: the Russo-Japanese War, the Tatar and Armenian massacres, revolutionary events in St. Petersburg and the Moscow uprising. Filming was to be conducted in a number of cities within the USSR.
Eisenstein wrote the film as revolutionary propaganda, but also used it to test his theories of montage. The revolutionary Soviet filmmakers of the Kuleshov school of filmmaking were experimenting with the effect of film editing on audiences, and Eisenstein attempted to edit the film in such a way as to produce the greatest emotional response, so that the viewer would feel sympathy for the rebellious sailors of the Battleship Potemkin and hatred for their overlords. In the manner of most propaganda, the characterization is simple, so that the audience could clearly see with whom they should sympathize.
One of the most celebrated scenes in the film is the massacre of civilians on the Odessa Steps (also known as the Primorsky or Potemkin Stairs). This sequence has been assessed as a "classic" and one of the most influential in the history of cinema. In the scene, the Tsar's soldiers in their white summer tunics march down a seemingly endless flight of steps in a rhythmic, machine-like fashion, firing volleys into a crowd. A separate detachment of mounted Cossacks charges the crowd at the bottom of the stairs. The victims include an older woman wearing pince-nez, a young boy with his mother, a student in uniform and a teenage schoolgirl. A mother pushing an infant in a baby carriage falls to the ground dying and the carriage rolls down the steps amid the fleeing crowd.
The revolutionary Soviet filmmakers of the Kuleshov school of filmmaking were experimenting with the effect of film editing on audiences, and Eisenstein attempted to edit the film in such a way as to produce the greatest emotional response.
Caspervek's Soundtrack for Battleship Potemkin was an attempt by Brais González to mimic the compositional language of the great Soviet composers, such as Dmitri Shostakovich or Sergej Prokofiev, adapting it to the cinematographic context of the band. The film is awaiting the premiere of a new version of the soundtrack for 2022.