Eisenstein’s visually dynamic account of Russia’s October 1917 Revolution, in which Kerensky’s provisional government was ousted by the Bolsheviks. A masterpiece in world cinema.
Commissioned by the October Revolution Jubilee Committee (Chairman, Nikolai Podvolsky) for the tenth anniversary of the revolution, Sergei Eisenstein’s third major feature film October 1917 is a marvellous reconstruction of the events from February leading up to the revolution, and of the Bolshevik’s overthrow of the Czarists and Kerensky’s provisional government in October 1917.
True to the communist philosophy, there were no main characters. The proletariat provides the heroic ‘star’ quality throughout, with the ultimate victory belonging to the revolution.
Eisenstein’s skill and experimentation in using fast moving and rhythmic montage to produce telling metaphors, and build and intensify sequences, was not fully understood by the early Russian audiences. Typical examples are the rapidly alternating images employed to emulate a machine-gun firing, and the cross-cutting between power-hungry Kerensky and the statue of Napoleon.
Outstanding for the period are the dynamic sequences illustrating the massacre in the vicinity of the St Petersburg bridges and the storming of the Winter Palace which feature a profusion of exciting cinematic techniques.
Eisenstein’s research was extremely thorough and he did not allow contemporary events to influence his production. The film’s release was delayed until 1928 by the Government Group’s demands for the removal of most of the footage featuring Stalin’s political adversary Trotsky. This required substantial re-editing and caused the film to be reduced to a little over three-quarters of its intended length.
When this film was made, Leningrad and it’s streets, the building, the Winter Palace, the corridors of the Smolny, were the same as in that fateful year. Thus October 1917 renders a stirring ‘eye-witness’ account of the early days of the revolution.
Many participants of the revolution, red guards, soldiers and sailors, appear in the film. Among them is Nikolai Podvolsky, one of the leaders of the armed uprising.
”We have the right to be proud that to us fell the good fortune of beginning the building of the Soviet State and, by doing so, opening a new chapter in the history of the world.” —- Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov (Lenin)
A Film by Sergei Eisenstein, dedicated to the Petrograd Proletariat, heroes of the October Revolution.