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Eisenstein: You Got'm? Yeah, I Got'm!


The Grand Central Station Scene in Brian De Palma's 1987 The Untouchables:

Terry Gilliam's 1985 Brazil

The Runaway Baby Carriage Scenes from the Odessa Steps Sequence in Eisenstein's 1925 movie 
Battleship Potemkin:

The full Eisenstein Sequence:

There are other movies that paid homage to or referenced Eisenstein's method of editing (Montage) exemplified by this renowned sequence such as Coppola's The Godfather, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. It was also easiy recalled in Spielberg's Schindler's List (the helpless girl in red in the middle of a massacre). Reflected upon in Woody Allen's Bananas, Death and Love and probably used in tens of movies worldwide. Homage or intertextuality, tribute or plagiarism or whatever, it seems that these creative filmmakers (creative in their own right) have to tell us that they know the basics of filmmaking and connect verily with their creative ancestors such as Eisenstein. In fact, the impact of editing, swift camera movements and the use of close-ups, descending angles, bird's-eye-view shots seem to empower this sequence every time one gets to see it. Almost the whole theory of cinema is right here in a silent movie from 1925 a.d.

All that said, nothing of what Eisenstein did at the Odessa Steps actually and historically took place!
"Eisenstein did it so well that today the bloodshed on the Odessa steps is often referred to as if it really happened." But there were signs of unrest in Odessa, or actually signs of a revolution in the making. 
There are two reasons postulated to explain how Eisenstein devised his rendering of this part of the movie. 
One is that he was a communist doing propaganda work to depict the atrocities of the Tsars prior to the first Russian revolution of 1905. The other is that as a genius he figured out the impact of  chaos over the seemingly endless flights of steps and how the sight of children and women caught in this deadly mess would heighten the drama and suspense. 
Both explanations fit the maker of October-Ten Days That Shook The World!
Sergei Eisenstein (Russia) 1898-1948 is considered one of the most important narrative filmmakers and cinema theorists. Other than memorable movies, he wrote important books on cinema such as Film Form, The Film Sense, Notes of a Film Director and many more.


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