Synopsis: One of the finest examples of intellectual montage, consisting of more than 3,200 shots in its 103 minutes, TEN DAYS THAT SHOOK THE WORLD has been described as a Constructivist poster come to life. Again working from a commission by Lenin, in this case, to make a film commemorating the 10th anniversary of the overthrow of the Kerensky government by the Bolsheviks, Sergei Eisenstein saw it as an opportunity to push his montage experiments to the limit. Focusing on the crucial events from February through October 1917, the director treats Lenin (Vasili Nikandrov) with hagiographical reverence while satirizing the opponents of the Bolsheviks as obese clowns or idiots, using visual metaphors of an extraordinary variety and richness. Kerensky's (Nikolai Popov) strutting narcissism is illustrated by a cut to a mechanical peacock. Shots of officials of the provisional government are intercut with Japanese and African masks, Haitian voodoo idols, and sacred Chinese statuary. Perhaps most memorable is the image of the white horse dangling from the open St. Petersburg drawbridge, a bridge whose raised sections Eisenstein compared to the arms of a dying man, as a massacre unfolds on the ground. Like nearly all the director's work, this dizzyingly encyclopedic inventory of montage technique is as much a register of his unique sensibility as it as a piece of propaganda.
Directed by: Sergei Eisenstein