RUSSIAN DIRECTOR SERGEI EISENSTEIN'S POWERFUL RETELLING OF THE 1917 RUSSIAN REVOLUTION, OCTOBER IS AN ACKNOWLEDGED MASTERPIECE IN THE USE OF EDITING, LIGHTING, CAMERA PLACEMENT AND MISE-EN-SCENE.
Officially produced to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the Russian Revolution, October quickly became another of Sergei Eisenstein's experiments in film form. As in his masterpiece, Battleship Potemkin, Eisenstein uses explosive montage to create the spirit of revolution--in this case, the events in St. Petersburg during the months leading up to the Bolshevik revolt. Eisenstein's insistence on speaking the language of pure film (deploying space, shadow, movement, and rhythm to create his meaning) shoves his mad rush of images straight into the viewer's eye. A worker's rebellion in the streets, followed by the raising of bridges to isolate their neighborhood, becomes a visual symphony of panic. The film has also been known as Ten Days That Shook the World, its release title in the U.S. (borrowed from the book by John Reed). Its value as propaganda can be debated, but October is incredibly dynamic as film art. --Robert Horton