For Reel

Strike (1925)
January 8, 2012, 11:58 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Sergei Eisenstein

The first feature from Soviet master Sergei Eisenstein, completed just before his most remembered film, The Battleship Potemkin, Strike is a classic example of the intellectual montage editing familiar of other influential works of early Soviet cinema. Having been accused of stealing equipment by a superior, a factory worker commits suicide and incites the titular strike. The capitalists – in conjunction with the military – massacre the men, women, and children just before the final title card, calling for the audience to remember the tragedy and the importance of collectivism in battling the corrupt paymasters. Typical of its era, the film has no identifiable individual, rather it concerns the efforts of a mass identity, achieving pathos through their unionized agony. Despite the formal achievements – and one cannot discredit the influence that the picture has had both on filmmakers and on those who discuss cinema – the film’s visceral thrills inevitably grow wearisome, even if the crescendo is unforgettable. It is a picture that, through its relentless, excessive brutality, gives the feeling of having been pummeled.

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