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Borrowing its title from a book by American journalist John Reed (of Reds fame), Sergei Eisenstein's Ten Days That Shook the World reenacts the crucial week-and-a-half in October, 1918, when the Russian Kerensky regime was toppled by the Bolsheviks. While Eisenstein takes certain liberties in characterization--those opposing the Bolsheviks are depicted as mental defectives or grossly overweight clowns--his re-creation of such events as the storming of the Winter Palace are painstakingly meticulous. The "actor" playing Lenin, a nonprofessional worker named Nikandrov, so closely resembles the genuine article that the effect is positively eerie. So authentic is Eisenstein's reconstruction of events that, for years, TV documentaries have been passing off clips from Ten Days That Shook the World as "actual" scenes of the Revolution. While impressive on a technical level, the film never truly stirs the audience's emotions; Eisenstein purists have argued that this "alienation" technique was the director's intention all along, forcing the viewer to observe the events intellectually rather than emotionally. Produced in celebration of the tenth anniversary of the October Revolution, Ten Days That Shook the World was initially titled October. … More
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Critic Reviews for October
The film remains an interesting oddity rather than entertaining or illuminating. Indeed, watching it today can seem hard work.
Much of the montage is reductive and static, but some of the action scenes are genuinely stirring -- when he wasn't editorializing, the man really could cut film.
An arty experimental pic filled with rousing spectacles and intellectual montages.
leaves us far more memorable montages than anything that modern copycat filmmakers have created
Though indisputably dazzling (and wearying) in its cinematics and its display of Eisenstein's pioneering editing techniques, October is simplistic propaganda.
Audience Reviews for October
[font=Century Gothic][color=red]October(or Ten Days that Shook the World) is a powerful, passionate, exciting reenactment of the 1917 Revolution from the fall of the Tsar to the storming of the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg. This was directed by Sergei Eisenstein on the tenth anniversary of the Soviet Revolution. I'm not an expert on Russian history, so I cannot really comment on its accuracy but I can say that it does favor Stalin's worldview - it does slight Trotsky at one point and I think it's unfair to think of Kerensky wanting to be a new Tsar, when his worst sin was not pulling Russia out of World War I, which would have given the country a chance to recover.[/color][/font]
I imagine I would of enjoyed this more if I had better knowledge of the Russian Revolution.
Still, this is very nicely edited and very much feels like a documentary. Anyone seriously interested in film and the birth of modern cinema should see this.
I just wish that I didn't have to miss out on some of the dialogue (white subtitles on white background does not work!)
I feel not only is this a superior work to Battleship Potemkin overall, but it is also more of an accurate example of the Eisenstein style than was Potemkin. Though it is not subtle, it is highly articulate and incisive.
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