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Ten Days That Shook the World
Oktyabr
dir. Sergei M. Eisenstein / USSR 1928 / 103’
subtitles: Polish and English
Hew Horizons of Film Language

Cast

Vasili Nikandrov, Vladimir Popov, Layaschenko, Boris Libanov

Film description

Seemingly a chronicle of events in Petersburg in 1917: from the fall of the monarchy in February to Lenin's arrival in April, from the apprehension of revolutionaries in July to the decline of the Provisional Government in November. This story about the crucial moment in the history of Russia - and the history of the world too - becomes an anniversary-celebrating pretext for the staging of a spectacle of fighting reason, idea and strength. There are actually no individual characters, only the masses; there is in fact no plot either, because there is a revolution going on. This was the third work in Eisenstein's career and probably his most mature silent film, where his postulates of intellectual editing and attraction were entirely shaped by contrasting oppositions (hunger on the streets and wealth in palaces), fragmented sequences (destruction of the tsar's statue) and many other elements.The rhythm and composition of cuts make the film more dynamic, but they also enrich the images' meaning. The great number of close-ups and the dramatic scene of capturing the Winter Palace are especially captivating. Ten Days That Shocked the World was made 80 years ago, but its editing technique is more modern than in the majority of films produced nowadays. This is also an excellent illustration of the editing theories of silent cinema (and not only silent cinema) and of how editing can affect the essence of a film.

Jan Topolski

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