2 points: Why is Battleship Potemkin seen by some as the greatest film of all time

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  1. 2 points: Why is Battleship Potemkin seen by some as the greatest film of all time (Brussels World’s Fair, 1958)?

Battleship Potemkin is viewed by some people as the greatest film of all time; it is a revolutionary propaganda film that has utilized montage through the juxtaposition of images, Battleship Potemkin is also considered as being responsible for creating the language of cinema.

  1. When and where was it made?

Battleship Potemkin was made in Russia in 1925, and was funded by the USSR Government.

  1. What is the story about?

Battleship Potemkin is a revolutionary propaganda film that is based on a historical event in 1905 that depicts a riot at the battleship Potemkin. Eisenstein illustrates the 1905 Revolution that occurred when the crew of the Russian Battleship Potemkin rebelled against their officers of the Tsarist regime. The sailors on the Battleship Potemkin begin to rise up and rebel when they are given maggot infested food. This news of the rebellion reaches the citizens on land who have also experienced czarist repression, and decide to send food and water supplies out to the Battleship Potemkin. Then czarist troops march down a flight of steps, killing innocent citizens.

  1. How is structured?

This film has been organized into five episodes:

  • Episode 1: Men and Maggots – which is where the audiences view the sailors uprising and protesting against the officers of the Tsarist regime.

  • Episode 2: Drama on Deck – this is where the soldiers leader Vakulinchuk is killed.

  • Episode 3: A dead man calls for Justice – This is where the audience views the people of Odessa mourning over Vakulinchuck’s body.

  • Episode 4: The Odessa Staircase – This is where the viewer witnesses the Tsarist soldiers march down the flight of stairs and kill innocent people

  • Episode 5: The Rendez-Vous with the Squadron – The audience witnesses the lowering of guns, and cheering sailors

  1. List 3 points about Eisenstein’s background.

  • Eisenstein was the son of a Jewish Architect

  • Eisenstein studied at the Institute of Civil Engineering, where he studied architecture and engineering.

  • Eisenstein joined the Red Army in 1918

List 3 intellectual beliefs / interests that affected Eisenstein’s film?

  • Eisenstein studied as an architect, which allowed him to be inspired by Renaissance conceptions of space.

  • Eisenstein’s loyalty to the ideal of communism affected his work, as he produced the Battleship Potemkin a revolutionary propaganda film.

  • Another one of Eisenstein’s beliefs include portraying emotions and influence the viewer, and as a result utilized montage, which is considered to be the most powerful cinematic devices, which allowed for Eisenstein to control human functions, penetrating the subconscious and stimulating psycho-physiological responses.

  1. What is Pavlovian reflexology and what is an example of its use (adapted to biomechanics) in Eisenstein’s film?

Pavlovian reflexology is when physical things affect the physiological state of mind, for example the dog and the meat experiment. The dog was presented with a piece of meat, when seeing and sniffing the meat, the dog would salivate, an unconditioned response. Next there was a conditioned response, a bell would ring, and the dog simply looks for where the sound comes from, the bell would repeatedly ring and immediately after the dog would be shown the meat, after a certain amount of times, the bell would provoke salivation, the bell then becomes a sign of the meat that will come. Eisenstein utilized the Pavlovian reflexology within battleship Potemkin by re-conditioning the reflexes of humans in offer to lead them into a desired direction.

  1. Define Dialectical montage.

Eisenstein utilizes dialectical montage as a film technique throughout Battleship Potemkin. This montage effect is when a shot juxtaposes (the thesis) with another shot (its antithesis), which allows for a new meaning to be produced, which is not just the sum of the shots but a whole new idea or impression perceived by the audience.

  1. Define intellectual montage

Intellectual montage refers to the introduction of ideas into a highly charged and emotionalized sequence an example of this within the Battleship Potemkin film is the Odessa Steps Sequence.

  1. List and define 3 other editing techniques developed and used by Eisenstein.

  • Metric Montage: Refers to the length of the shots in relation to one another, this technique is utilized to increase the tension within a scene.

  • Tonal Montage: Refers to editing decisions in order to establish the emotional tone of the scene.


  1. Expand on the following visual techniques in Potemkin:

    1. Use of multiple perspectives

Narrative tool

Different perspectives

    1. Crowd scenes versus individuals

A feeling for the crowd

Aimed at the political end

    1. A dynamic film passage versus a lyrical passage

  1. How is Eisenstein an ideologue: how was he an artist? Which aspect was stronger in his work?

Eisenstein is an ideologue as he is renowned for producing a story through the utilization of the editing technique montage. Eisenstein is renowned for the way in which he encapsulates the audience and controls their emotion and attention throughout his silent film Battleship Potemkin.

  1. Did Eisenstein work in Hollywood as well as USSR? – Was he always well received? Mention a reason for your answer.

Yes Eisenstein worked in Hollywood, as well as USSR, however he was not always well received within Hollywood as producers felt as though he didn’t fit in socially as his work was depressing.

  1. Name 2 films influenced by Battleship Potemkin.

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