October 14, 2009

The Battleship Potemkin

1926 / 75 minutes / Soviet Union / Silent film/Russian intertitles

Directed by Sergei Eisenstein

Written by Nina Agadzhanova.,Nikolai Aseyev,
Sergei Eisenstein,Sergei Tretyakov

Cinematography Eduard Tisse

The Battleship Potemkin, a
1925 silent film directed by Sergei Eisenstein presents a dramatised version of the mutiny that occurred in 1905 when the crew of the Russian battleship Potemkin rebelled against their oppressive officers of the Tsarist regime.
The Battleship Potemkin has been called one of the most influential propaganda
films of all time, and was named the greatest film of all time at the World's Fair at Brussels, Belgium, in 1958.
The movie revolves around an uprising on board the Battleship Potemkin (Bronenoset Potemkin) in 1905. Conditions on the ship are unbearable, which in turn incites revolutionary fervor among the sailors, most notably within the character of Vakulinchik. After the ship's doctor declares rancid meat safe to eat, the sailors buy provisions at the canteen in a show of protest. The Admiral then orders all those who ate the borsch made with the meat to step under the cannons in a show of loyalty. Those who do not are covered under a tarp and ordered shot. Vakulinchik then implores his shipmates to rise up against those who oppress them, namely the officers of the ship. All the officers are killed and the ship is liberated. During the uprising, Vakulinchik dies. His body his placed on the docks in the Odessa harbor as a symbol of the revolution. The citizens of Odessa rally around his body and join the Potemkin in their revolt. Cossaks then come, in one of the most famous scenes of the film, and slaughter the helpless citizens on the steps leading to the harbor, effectively ending the revolt in Odessa. A fleet of battleships then comes to destroy the Potemkin.
The film is composed of five episodes:
"Men and Maggots" (Люди и черви), in which the sailors protest at having to eat rotten meat;
"Drama at the Harbour" (Драма на тендре), in which the sailors mutiny and their leader, Vakulynchuk, is killed;
"A Dead Man Calls for Justice" (Мёртвый взывает) in which Vakulinchuk's body is mourned over by the people of Odessa;
"The Odessa Staircase" (Одесская лестница), in which Tsarist soldiers massacre the Odessans; and
"The Rendez-Vous with a Squadron" (Встреча с эскадрой), in which the squadron ends up joining the sailors' side.

Viva Zapata!
1952/ 113 minutes/ English/Spanish

Directed by Elia Kazan
Written by John Steinbeck
Starring Marlon Brando/Jean Peters/Anthony Quinn
Music by Alex North
Cinematography Joseph MacDonald
Editing by Barbara McLean

Viva Zapata! is a 1952 biographical film directed by Elia Kazan. The screenplay was written by John Steinbeck, using as a guide Edgcomb Pinchon's book, 'Zapata the Unconquerable', a fact that is not credited in the titles of the film. It is a fictionalized account of the life of Mexican Revolutionary Emiliano Zapata from his peasant upbringing, through his rise to power in the early 1900s, to his death. To give the film as authentic a feel as possible, Kazan and producer Darryl F. Zanuck studied the numerous photographs that were taken during the revolutionary years, the period between 1909 and 1919 when Zapata led the fight to restore land taken from the people during the dictatorship of Porfirio Diaz. Kazan was especially impressed with the Agustin Casasola collection of photographs and he attempted to duplicate their visual style in the film. Kazan also acknowledged the influence of Roberto Rosselini's Paisan.

Zapata (Marlon Brando) is part of a delegation sent to complain about injustices to corrupt longtime President Porfirio Díaz (Fay Roope), but Díaz condescendingly dismisses their concerns. As a result, Zapata is driven to open rebellion, along with his brother Eufemio (Anthony Quinn). He in the south and Pancho Villa (Alan Reed) in the north unite under the leadership of naive reformer Francisco Madero (Harold Gordon).
Díaz is finally toppled and Madero takes his place, but Zapata is dismayed to find that nothing is changed. The new regime is no less corrupt and self-serving than the one it replaced. His own brother sets himself up as a petty dictator, taking what he wants without regard for the law. The ineffectual but well-meaning Madero puts his trust in treacherous General Victoriano Huerta (Frank Silvera). Huerta first takes Madero captive and then has him murdered. Zapata himself is lured into an ambush and killed.
Zapata is depicted in the film as an incorruptible rebel leader. He is guided by his desire to return the land to the peasants, who have been robbed, while forsaking his personal interest. Steinbeck meditates in the film on power, military and political, which corrupts men. Zapata excepted.

Anthony Quinn won the 1952 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
The film was also nominated for:
• Best Actor in a Leading Role - Marlon Brando
• Best Writing, Story and Screenplay - John Steinbeck
• Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black-and-White - Lyle R. Wheeler, Leland Fuller, Thomas Little, Claude E. Carpenter
• Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture - Alex North
At the 1952 Cannes Film Festival, Brando won for Best Actor, while Elia Kazan was nominated for the Grand Prix du Festival International du Film.

2002/ 75 minutes/ B&W/Argentina/Netherlands/Spanish

Directed by Israel Adrián Caetano
Written by: Screenplay:Israel Adrián Caetano
Story:Romina Lafranchini
Starring: Freddy Flores/Enrique Liporace/Rosa Sánchez
Music by: Los Kjarkas
Cinematography: Julián Apezteguia

Bolivia (2001) is an Argentine and Dutch drama film directed by Israel Adrián Caetano, his first feature-length film. The screenplay is written by Caetano, based upon the Romina Lafranchini story, about his wife. The motion picture features Freddy Flores and Rosa Sánchez, among others.
The film was photographed in "gritty" 16mm black-and-white, and was shot by cinematographer Julián Apezteguia./ Bolivia was filmed entirely in Buenos Aires.

The mostly plot-free film is confined to a café-bar in the lower-middle class Buenos Aires suburb of Villa Crespo, with few trips outside.
It tells the story of Freddy (Freddy Flores), a Bolivian with a gentle disposition, who, after Americans burn down the coca fields where he is employed, loses his job. With little work opportunities in Bolivia, he leaves his wife and three daughters and travels to Argentina to search for employment as an undocumented worker. He hopes to make money and later return to his family.
He lands a job as a grill cook in a seedy Villa Crespo café where the brutish owner (Enrique Liporace) is happy to skirt Argentinian immigrant laws in order to secure cheap labor.
It is in this café that Freddy meets the characters who affect his life: Rosa (Rosa Sánchez), a waitress of Paraguayan/Argentine descent, and an outsider by virtue of her mixed heritage; Héctor (Héctor Anglada), a traveling salesman from the province of Córdoba who's gay; a porteño taxi driver (Oscar Bertea), and one of the driver's buddies.
Freddy also has to deal with various Argentine café patrons who view all Paraguayans and Bolivians with disdain due to their ethnicity.

The motion picture was financed partly by the Rotterdam International Film Festival's Hubert Bals Fund and the INCAA (Instituto Nacional de Cine y Artes Audiovisuales de la Argentina).
The filming was a stop-and-go production and required three years of discontinuous shooting. It was shot on different days and at different times. According to director Caetano, he was never able to film for more than three days at a time.

Basis of film
Caetano said, "When writing the script, what interested me was the story; the issue of racism was not very present. However, it is inevitable that when addressing those characters and setting the story in that particular social strata, there is a series of themes that appear on their own and impose themselves."
Caetano believes that, "The film’s main theme is the collision among people of the same social class, they are workers about to be left out of any class at all, and thus they are intolerant towards one another. Basically, they are trapped in a situation they can not escape."
Come and See

1985/146 minutes/Soviet Union

Directed by:Elem Klimov
Written by:Ales Adamovich /Elem Klimov
Starring:Aleksei Kravchenko/Olga Mironova
Music by:Oleg Yanchenko
Cinematography:Alexei Rodionov
Editing by:Valeriya Belova

Come and See , directed by Elem Klimov, is a 1985 Soviet war movie and psychological horror drama about and occurring during the Nazi German occupation of the Belarussian SSR, in 1943. Aleksei Kravchenko and Olga Mironova star as the protagonists Florya and Glasha. The screenplay is by Ales Adamovich and Elem Klimov

Plot summary
Come and See begins with two Belorussian boys digging in a sand field looking for abandoned rifles, in order to be permitted membership of the Soviet partisan forces, while an old farmer warns them not to dig. One of the boys, Florya (or "Florian," in certain translations), finds an SVT-40. The next day, partisans arrive at his house and take Florya with them, to the dismay of his mother who fears that the loss of her son, like his father before him, will lessen her and her daughters chances of survival. The partisans converge in a forest and prepare to confront the Nazis, but the partisan commander orders Florya to remain behind at the camp in reserve; disappointed, Florya walks into the forest, weeping, and comes across Glasha, a girl in love with the commander who has also been left behind. Suddenly, German aeroplanes appear and begin to drop German parachutists, and the camp comes under heavy artillery fire.

Florya goes temporarily deaf from the explosions and, after hiding out in the forest, returns to his home village with Glasha. He does not find his family at home but his sisters dolls are lined up on the floor and the house is overrun by flies. When they sit down to eat the still warm dinner from the oven, Glasha vomits. Denying what they both suspect, Florya decides that they must be hiding on an nearby island across a bog. As they run from the village, Glasha turns and sees a huge pile of bodies stacked behind Florya's house. When they get to the island after painstakingly wading through the bog, they meet a large number of other villagers who fled the Nazis, including the old man who warned Florya not to dig, now doused in gasoline and burnt by the Nazis. Florya finally understands that his family did not survive.

He and three resistance fighters leave to find food for the starving villagers, and find the SS engaged in anti-Partisan and Einsatzgruppen killing activities. The food store is too well defended to be raided and two of their number are blown up after Florya mistakenly leads them through a minefield. At dusk, they sneak up to an occupied town and manage to steal a cow from a Nazi-collaborating farmer, but as they flee across the fields they are shot at and both Florya's companion and the cow are killed.

The next morning, Florya, unable to move the dead cow, finds a horse and cart and decides to take that back to the villagers for food. The owner of the horse attempts to stop him but, shortly after, they hear the sound of the approaching mass of German soldiers. The farmer helps Florya hide his partisan jacket and rifle in the field and takes him to his village of Perekhody, where they hurriedly discuss a fake identity for him. The Nazis move into the village and herd everyone to a wooden church, locking them all inside. A German officer announces to the terrified people that any of them will be allowed to climb out of the barn through a side window, as long as they leave their children behind. No one moves, but Florya takes up their offer and climbs out. Shortly after, a woman attempts to climb out with her child but she is dragged away by her hair and the toddler is thrown back through the window. Grenades are thrown into the church, which is then set on fire and shot at; Florya watches the inferno of burning Belorussian peasants while the Nazis stand and applaud, taking photographs and laughing. The woman who escaped the church is put into a moving truck with a group of soldiers and repeatedly raped.

As the Germans leave the burning village they are ambushed by the partisans, who slaughter most of them and capture a small number, including their commander. Florya recovers his rifle and jacket and brings a cannister of gasoline to burn the German and Belorussian collaborator prisoners. The main collaborator, insisting that they are not to blame for the slaughter, translates the words of German commander, who claims to be a good man and a doting grandfather. Another German officer is disgusted by his commander's cowardice and tells the partisans that they, as an inferior race and communist sympathisers, will eventually be exterminated. The prisoners are all doused with petrol, but the crowd shoot them down before they can be set on fire. As the partisans leave, Florya notices a portrait of Adolf Hitler in a puddle and shoots it. After each shot, there is sequence of montages that play in reverse and regress in time: corpses at a concentration camp; Hitler congratulating a German boy; 1930s Nazi party congresses, images of Hitler's combat service in World War I, images of Hitler as a schoolboy; and finally a picture of the infant Adolf in his mother's lap. After each sequence, Florya shoots the picture — yet he does not fire the last shot at the baby Hitler.

In the final scene Florya catches up with and blends in with his partisan comrades marching through the woods. They are seen marching away into the dark of the trees; afterwards, the camera rises to the sky.

Cast And Crew

Starring: Thushara , Abhilash , Sreelal , Uma ,
Sreerag , Sruthi , VS Anil Kumar , Anitha
Directed by S Sunil
Produced by Kannapuram Panchayath
Story S Sunil
Screenplay S Sunil , VS Anil Kumar
Cinematography P Pratap
Music John P Varky
Lyrics DV Sreedharan
Editing Byju Kurup
Art Direction Prasanth Padiyoor
Audiography T Krishnanunni

Kaliyorukkam,’ a 46-minute film produced by the Kannapuram grama panchayat with the co-operation of Kerala State Film Development Corporation and people’s participation has a simple theme. It tells the story about a group of children who found that they don't have a playground during the summer vacations as it had been acquired for a commercial purpose. Undaunted, the children prepare a playground, which they eventually lose to their village elders who appropriate it for themselves - again for games.

'Kaliyorukkam' won the state award for the best children's film for 2007 .

One of the significant features of the film is that it is an attempt by a panchayat. And the film celebrates the 'local' in more than one way. All the actors are school-going students from the locality, who are totally at home within the film and the narrative. The visual compositions of the film very sensitively capture the 'locale' – the different terrains of the region, the landscapes, and the various moods created by the dense foliage and waterscapes in varying light shades. The children in the film speak in their own everyday language: they use the local dialect that is not sanitized to appease a pan-Kerala audience. Most refreshingly, the film never pontificates or forces the children to mouth banalities. And it is this affirmation and celebration of the local – physical and cultural – that gives Sunil's Kaliyorukkam its charming quality. One hopes the film will prepare the ground for more such initiatives.

1925/82 min./ Soviet Union/ Silent film/Russian inter titles

Directed by Sergei Eisenstein
Written by Grigori Aleksandrov/Ilya Kravchunovsky/
Sergei M. Eisenstein/Valeryan Pletnyov
Cinematography Eduard Tisse

Strike is a 1925 silent film made in the Soviet Union by Sergei Eisenstein. It was Eisenstein's first full-length feature film, and he would go on to make The Battleship Potemkin later that year. It was acted by the Proletcult Theatre, and composed of six parts. It was in turn, intended to be one part of a seven-part series, entitled Towards Dictatorship (of the proletariat), that was left unfinished. Eisenstein's influential essay, Montage of Attractions was written between Strike's production and premiere. The film depicts a strike by the workers of a factory in pre-revolutionary Russia, and their subsequent suppression. The film is most famous for a sequence near the end in which the violent putting down of the strike is cross-cut with footage of cattle being slaughtered, although there are several other points in the movie where animals are used as metaphors for the conditions of various individuals. Another theme in the film is collectivism in opposition to individualism which was viewed as a convention of western film. Collective efforts and collectivization of characters were central to both Strike and Battleship Potemkin.

Plot summary
The film opens with a quote from Vladimir Lenin.

At the factory all is quiet
Using typography, the word "но" (but) is added to the title of the chapter which then animates and dissolves into a an image of machinery in motion. The administration is spying on the workers, reviewing a list of agents with vivid code names. Vignettes are shown of them. Conditions are tense with agitators and bolsheviks planning a strike prior to the catalytic event.
Reason to strike
A micrometer is stolen, with a value of 25 rubles or 3 weeks pay. A worker, Yakov, is accused of the theft and subsequently hangs himself. Fighting ensues and work stops. The workers leave the milling room running and resistance is met at the foundry. The strikers throw rocks and loose metal through the foundry windows. Then locked within the gates of the complex, the crowd confronts the office. They force open the gates and seize a manager carting him off in a wheel barrow dumping them down a hill into the water. The crowd disperses.

The factory dies down
The chapter begins with footage of ducklings, kittens, piglets, and geese. A child then wakes his father for work ironically with no work to do, they laugh and frolic. The factory is shown vacant and still with birds moving in. The children act out what their fathers had done, wheelbarrowing a goat in a mob. The owner is frustrated by orders arriving and the frozen plant. Demands are formulated: an 8 hour work day, fair treatment by the administration, 30% wage increases, and a 6 hour day for minors. The shareholders get involved with the director and read the demands. They discuss dismissively while smoking cigars and having drinks. Presumably on the orders of the shareholders, the police raid the workers, and they sit down to protest. At their meeting the shareholders use the demand letter as a rag to clean up a spill,and a lemon squeezer metaphorically represents the pressure the stockholders intend to apply to the strikers.

The strike draws out

Cover of the DVDScenes are shown of a lines forming at a store which is closed, and a baby needing food. A fight occurs at a home between a man and a woman, subsequently she leaves. Another man rummages through his home for goods to sell at a flea market, upsetting his family. A posted letter publicly shows the administrators rejection of the demands. Using a hidden camera in a pocket watch, a spy named "Owl" photographs someone stealing the letter. The pictures are transferred to another spy. The man is beaten, captured, and beaten again.

Provocation and debacle
The scene opens with dead cats dangling from a structure. A character is introduced, "King" whose throne is made of a derelict automobile amidst rubbish, and who leads a community that lives in enormous barrels buried with only their top openings above ground. After a deal with a tsarist police agent, "King" hires a few provocateurs from among his community to set fire, raze, and loot a liquor store. A crowd gathers at the fire and the alarm is sounded. The crowd leaves to avoid being provoked but are set upon by the firemen with their hoses regardless.

The governor sends in the military. A child walks under the soldiers' horses and his mother goes under to get him and is struck. Rioting commences, and the crowd is chased off through a series of gates and barriers heading to the forge, then their apartments. The crowd is chased and whipped on the balconies. A policeman raises and drops a child from the balcony, killing it. The workers are driven into a field by the army and shot en masse. this is shown with alternating footage of the slaughtering of a cow.