#125: October

October (1928) — Dir. Sergei Eisenstein

Part of the Top 150 Films series

Each time I watch October, I’m left thinking ‘all Odessa Steps all the time’! Though that claim doesn’t quite hold up in the cold light of day, in the moment, October is such an exhilarating experience that it makes congressional voting and the simple acts of ministers walking into a palace room feel like rapturous pieces of cinema. Eisenstein’s gift for montage reached its peak here, and he finds new grounds to use his tools to suggest so much that couldn’t be achieved in the same way with conventional writing or editing. My favourite sequences are the comparisons of Aleksandr Kerensky to both a mechanical peacock and Napoleon Boneaparte; Vladimir Popovic gives an amazing performance as Kerensky, despite having less than nothing to actually do. If all such propaganda were this technically accomplished, the world would probably be a more horrifying place, but the films would be so much better!