Bronenosets Potemkin [Battleship Potemkin] (1925) + Michael Nyman Band

Bronenosets Potemkin
Director: Sergei M. Eisenstein
Writer: Nina Agadzhanova
Cast: Aleksandr Antonov, Vladimir Barsky, Grigori Aleksandrov
Part of: Film and Music Cycle in the Konzerthaus
With music by: Michael Nyman, played by the Michael Nyman Band

There’s trouble brewing on the Battleship Potemkin. The Crew is far from happy with their leadership and the conditions they have to work in. Soon discontent grows into outright rebellion – a rebellion that grows even past the ship and onto the mainland.

I had never seen the film before and practically all I knew going in was that it was an absolute classic and that it featured a famous scene with a baby carriage. In any case, it was a great film, though I’m less sure about Nyman’s accompanying music.


What I found most striking about the film were its visuals. There were quite a few images that will stay with me for a while, especially because of the lighting. Be it the sailors on deck of the ship or the scene on the Odessa staircase – it was a gorgeous movie. And the camera work was really quite clever, especially with the mentioned baby carriage scene.

The story itself was rather engaging, too. Not only am I in favor of people standing up for themselves and joining forces, there is still an actuality to it that I found impressive. Be it the parallels to revolutions like in the Arab Spring, or the police brutality as a reaction to them (from Ferguson to my own hometown Vienna, recently there were a lot of stories about that). That things still don’t seem to have changed at all in almost 90 years is frustrating to say the least.


Sometimes I was afraid that I lacked cultural context a bit. Some scenes I just didn’t quite get or I got the gist of it but not the details. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy them.

The only thing that didn’t work for me so much was Nyman’s music that he had composed especially for the film. I mean, the music itself was really nice but I just don’t think that he always caught the mood of the images he played them to. The two things just didn’t go together so well. But at least it was never so bad that I got pulled out of the film. I’d watch it again, even with that music.

bronenosets-potemkin2Summarizing: Worth seeing. But maybe with the original music.

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