1925's Strike was legendary director Sergei Eisenstein's first full-length feature film, and he would go on to make his masterpiece The Battleship Potemkin later that year. The film depicts a strike in the year 1903 by the workers of a factory in pre-revolutionary Russia, and explores the labourers tension, hardship and subsequent suppression which was endured by the controlling class. Soviet director Sergei Eisenstein was a student of the Kuleshov school of film-making and advocate of the theories of Soviet montage, which were a series of shots that formed conflict, collision and shock, which he believed was much more effective in emotionally affecting the viewer. Doing this Eisenstein would manipulate the viewer in feeling sympathy for the courageous workers and hatred for the corporate greedy business men.
Strike is most famous for a legendary sequence near the end of the film which cross-cuts with footage of the Soviet police shooting and killing civilians that are trying to retreat from them off-screen, while the scene cuts back and forth to a slaughterhouse where a butcher is holding a knife to a cow’s throat right before slaughtering it. Those two images juxtapose to form a third meaning between the cow and the civilians as the series of shots of the deceased and murdered civilians sprawled on the ground runs parallel to the cow's throat being brutally slashed open with a knife, as the cow slowly bleeds to death. Eisenstein’s theory of Intellectual Montage has the viewer make a connection between the murder of the civilians and the cow, which creates a third meaning for the viewer suggesting that the massacre of the civilians was more like a helpless slaughter. These violent and intense juxtaposed montage sequences can be looked at as the aesthetic starting point which inevitably led to other thrilling sequences, most famously with villagers ceremonially slaughtering a water buffalo in Frances Ford Coppola's war epic Apocalypse Now