movie film review | chris tookey

Strike / Stachka

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  Strike  / Stachka Review
Tookey's Rating
5 /10
Average Rating
8.00 /10
Grigori Alexandrov, Maxim Strauch, Mikhail Gomarov

Directed by: Sergei M. Eisenstein
Written by: Sergei M. Eisenstein

Released: 1924
Genre: DRAMA
Origin: USSR
Length: 82

Workers and the military clash during a prolonged factory strike, in 1912.

Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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The celebrated Russian director's first feature, which depicts a prolonged factory strike in 1912, is technically remarkable for its age, but today makes uncomfortable viewing. The story is told in melodramatic terms, and characterisation is negligible. The workers suffer nobly, while the capitalists are ogres, and their stooges unfeeling beasts. The symbolism is crass. The intention is clearly to stir up hatred of an entire class that deserves to die, along with its capitalist lackeys.

Though the film is fictitious, the appearance of documentary realism is as questionable as it was in Eisenstein's later, quasi-historical film Potemkin, whose most harrowing and influential sequence - the massacre on the Odessa steps - is pure invention.

The problem is, of course, that such virulent propaganda helped pave the way for the excesses of Stalin, arguably the greatest oppressor of human rights this century, and a man to whom Eisenstein was a devoted lackey. Eisenstein's continued high standing in the world of cinema stems, I fear, from a kneejerk liberal reaction to a long period when his films were banned in the West for being vicious anti-Capitalist rabble-rousing. The fact remains that this is exactly what they were.

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