Eisenstein's first feature also remains his most watchable; if his theories of montage and typage were already much in evidence, at least they had not yet turned into the over-emphatic academic tropes that marred so much of his later work. The story itself is simple: workers clash violently with employers and police during a drawn-out factory strike provoked by the sacking and subsequent suicide of one of their number. But Eisenstein's methods are both complex and extraordinary: his decision to make the masses rather than any single individual his hero lends the film a truly epic sweep; the vicious caricatures of the bourgeois capitalists make for wit and effectively powerful emotional manipulation; and the editing, rapid, fluid and razor-sharp, provides not only pace but a myriad of metaphorical meanings that extend way beyond mere propaganda. The harshly beautiful imagery - most memorably, shots of a slaughterhouse intercut with the massacre of the strikers - roots the movie effortlessly in down-to-earth reality, but its relentless energy and invention transform the whole thing into a raucous, rousing hymn to human dignity and courage.
Cast and crew
The Proletcult Collective Sergei Eisenstein, Valeri Pletniov, I Kravchinovski