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Double Feature: BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN (BRONENOSETS POTEMKIN), 1925, Kino Lorber, 66 min. Dir. Sergei M. Eisenstein. One of the most influential silent films of all time, this stirring historical drama takes place during the Russian Revolution of 1905. Enraged with the deplorable conditions on board the armored cruiser Potemkin, the ship’s loyal crew contemplates the unthinkable – mutiny. Seizing control of the battleship and raising the red flag of revolution, the sailors’ revolt becomes the rallying point for a Russian populace ground under the boot heels of the czar’s Cossacks. When ruthless White Russian cavalry arrive to crush the rebellion on the sandstone Odessa Steps, one of the most famous and most quoted film sequences in cinema history is born.
THE MAN WITH A MOVIE CAMERA (CHELOVEK S KINO-APPARATOM), 1929, Flicker Alley, 68 min. In his Kino Eye manifesto of 1923, director Dziga Vertov declared, “I am an eye. A mechanical eye. I am the machine that reveals the world to you as only the machine can see it,” embracing cinema as an art form that shuns traditional or Western narrative in favor of images from real life. This most studied Soviet film (named the best documentary of all time by Sight and Sound) paints a composite portrait of several Ukrainian cities, expressing Soviet themes of constructivism and collective success through a kinetic cascade of visuals.