russia: 100 years of film


In December of 1925, when Sergei Eisenstein’s iconic, aesthetically revolutionary film “The Battleship Potemkin” made its premiere at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow to an audience of Soviet Communist Party officials and veterans of the failed 1905 Bolshevik revolution depicted in the film, the writer and director was just 27 years old. Much has been written by Eisenstein and others about politics, montage, and the theoretical foundations for the film’s unprecedented vibrancy. It is nevertheless worth remembering that the energy and audacity that have kept “Potemkin” at the forefront of world cinema for 80 years, even as it has been mauled and re-edited to a degree only recently rectified in a new restoration, bore the power of youth.

Eisenstein may only have been in his 20s, but when he made his pitch to production heads at the Soviet Union’s main studio, Mosfilm, the Russian film industry itself was barely in its teens. And yet from its infancy to its present-day, postcommunist role in the world movie market, Russian film has sustained the same assured creative zeal. Beginning today, the Film Society of Lincoln Center, in association with Seagull Films (architect of Lincoln Center’s previous odes to Russian cinema) and Mosfilm itself (still Russia’s main film production hub), will present Envisioning Russia: A Century of Filmmaking.

more from the NY Sun here.