Montage is more than simply a technique. Montage compels you like a book because of what is left to the imagination. Giannetti’s book defines montage as “Transitional sequence of rapidly edited images, used to suggest the lapse of time or the passing of events.” The entire Battleship Potemkin movie gave the impression of a montage. I would not have been able to pay attention throughout the entire movie if it didn’t move so quickly. I must admit that Eisensteins “Battleship Potemkin” film is technically brilliant.
Eisensteins film; “Battleship Potemkin” is one of the fundamental landmarks of cinema. The movie is about the crew of a battleship being mistreated. One of the opening scenes illustrates a soldier being hit while sleeping. Then for breakfast soldier are served meat crawling with maggots. When soldiers complain the chief officer inspects the meat and makes it seem as if nothing is wrong with it. When soldiers refuse to eat it officers throw a tarpaulin over the rebellious solders and order them to be shot by the guards amidst their own crew. The crew imploded, the news of the death by its crewmember spread causing chaos. The content of the famous massacre on the Odessa Steps grabbed my attention.
The film was once banned in many nations, including its native Soviet Union; governments believed it could provoke audiences to rebel. According to today’s standards the Odessa Steps scene is graphic. Seeing children injured, shot and trampled made me cringe. When the woman stood in front of the soldiers with her bloody son pleading for the soldiers to stop, they shot her without remorse. The repeated close up on the carriage at the top of the steps caused anxiety simply because of the way it was edited.
The constant cuts back and forth between the gunfire and the carriage had the viewer thinking are they going to shot the carriage like they did the mother standing in front of it, or is the carriage going to go tumbling down the stair forcing the baby to fly out? “Battleship Potemkin” is a political drama with the absence of personal drama.
No single character is personalized which causes characters to represent or symbolize something greater, group of people with guns vs. a dismal group of unarmed folks. The juxtaposition had the greatest impact. Cutting between the anonymous uniformed gunman and the innocent victims that audiences could easily connect with.