Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Alexander Nevsky (1938) by Sergei Eisenstein

1938 was a rough year for Europe. In represents the peak of the pre-war Nazi scare. A time between the Soviet-Zazi non-aggression pact and the Nazi invasion of Poland. Soviet Premiere, Josef Stalin, did not truly trust the Nazi's and he wanted the people of the Soviet Union to beware that there was a chance that the uneasy peace could be broken at anytime. Stalin turned toward his go-to filmmaker, Sergei Eisenstein, perhaps best known for his silent, Pro-Communist propaganda piece, Battleship Potemkin. This time Eisenstein takes on a less contemporary subject.

Alexander Nevsky was a grand prince in Medeval Rus, and has become a folk hero to the Russian people as a uniter of the Russian people as he helped them stand against the Swedes, Mongols and, in the case of April 5, 1592--The Germans. Which is the battle that is at the center of this picture. Eisenstein's film captures the highs and lows of warfare, and does a great job of propagandizing the historical scenarios to make them both fairly accurate and relevant to the situation at hand in the Soviet Union in 1938.

In 2008, Russia held a reality television program called I Say Russia... which allowed the Russian people to vote on the top Russians of all time. In this contest the Soviet premiere who ordered this film, Josef Stalin, came in 3rd; and, the film's subject, Alexander Nevsky, was named the number one Russian of all time. Eisenstein is one of, in not the most, important filmmaker of the Soviet Union (a strong argument could also be made for Andrei Tarkovsky) and this film shows why it is that he is a true master of the craft.

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