A Cinematic Centennial Celebration of the Russian Revolution
The L.A. Workers Center and Hollywood Progressive are co-presenting a monthly film series from February through November 2017 to commemorate and celebrate the 100th anniversary of the February and October, 1917 Revolutions in Russia, as well as Russia’s 1905 mass uprisings. All 10 films screened during these 10 months are Soviet cinema classics, some of the greatest political films ever made.
Program/schedule for “A Cinematic Centennial Celebration of the Russian Revolution: TEN FILMS THAT SHOOK THE WORLD”:
February 24, 2017:
For the first time ever, The Progie Awards for 2016’s Best Progressive Films and Filmmakers will be announced at a live ceremony. This will be live streamed starting 7:00 p.m. (PST) here.
To honor 1917’s February Revolution, the scenes in the beginning of Sergei Eisenstein’s 1927 masterpiece, OCTOBER/TEN DAYS THAT SHOOK THE WORLD, that depict the overthrow of the Czar, will be screened. This will be followed by: MOTHER – Vsevolod Pudovkin’s 1926 film, inspired by Maxim Gorky’s novel about the 1905 Revolution, is about the revolutionary awakening of a middle-aged working class woman, whose son, a trade unionist, is imprisoned. Look for Pudovkin’s poetic use of a frozen river to symbolically express that the Revolution is an unstoppable natural force. (90 minutes.)
March 24, 2017:
BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN – Based on a true story, Sergei Eisenstein’s 1925 stirring account of the mutiny by sailors who refuse to eat maggoty meat and the mass strike by workers supporting them during the 1905 Revolution is widely considered to be Soviet cinema’s greatest masterpiece. The terrifying Odessa Steps scene encapsulates czarist brutality, while Potemkin’s theme of triumphant solidarity expressed the essence of Russia’s three revolutions, symbolized by pounding waves. (75 minutes.)
April 28, 2017:
THE FALL OF THE ROMANOV DYNASTY – Editing together archival footage, Esther Shub chronicles the czarist doomed dynasty from 1913 until 1917 in this 1927 nonfiction work. Historical figures including Czar Nicholas II, Czarina Alexandra, Aleksandr Kerensky are shown and V.I. Lenin are shown. Using found footage Shub constructed a new film out of old newsreel clips, creating the documentary genre of the compilation film. (1 hour, 41 minutes.)
May 26, 2017:
STRIKE – Sergei Eisenstein’s powerful first full-length film depicts a 1903 strike by Russian workers. Instead of Hollywood-type individualistic movie stars, we see instead the collective mass hero. Eisenstein’s 1925 silent film is famous for its imaginative intercutting at the end expressing the cruelty of the vicious czarist regime. (82 minutes.)
June 23, 2017:
ARSENAL – Ukrainian Alexander Dovzhenko’s 1929 film takes place during the Russian Civil War, depicting the 1918 Kiev Arsenal January Uprising to support the Red Army. A decade before Superman’s birth, Dovzhenko bestows a mythic dimension on the rebels. (92 minutes.)
July 28, 2017:
STORM OVER ASIA – Vsevolod Pudovkin’s 1928 anti-imperialist parable is set in Mongolia in 1918, as indigenous people, led by Genghis Khan’s descendent, rise up against British colonizers, with a little help from Mother Nature. (2 hours, 8 minutes.)
August 25, 2017:
EARTH – Alexander Dovzhenko’s 1930 ode to the Ukraine includes rhapsodic images of peasants, sunflowers, tractors, etc., as collectivization and modernization come to the Ukrainian countryside, and farmers fight the kulaks and landowners. (69 minutes.)
Sept. 22, 2017:
Special treat: Pudovkin’s 1925 comedy short, CHESS FEVER. (28 minutes.)
MAN WITH THE MOVIE CAMERA – Dziga Vertov’s astounding, avant-garde 1929 documentary is as visually inventive as the features made by Hollywood’s Buster Keaton or the German Expressionists. This extremely cinematic nonfiction film is full of wild special effects and optical trickery, a real feast for the eyes as it explores the then-contemporary Soviet Union. Vertov, the creator of the Kino Pravda – or “Film Truth” newsreels – asks: What is the role of the filmmaker in socialist society? (68 minutes.)
Oct. 27, 2017:
THE END OF ST. PETERSBURG – Vsevolod Pudovkin’s 1927 classic dramatizes the events leading up to the Kerensky regime’s overthrow by following a poor peasant’s journey as he rise to consciousness and takes action. The horrors of World War I are revealed with some of the best antiwar scenes ever shot and the Petrograd proletariat seizes power – turning St. Petersburg into Leningrad. (89 minutes.)
Nov. 7, 2017 – the exact 100th anniversary of the October Revolution:
OCTOBER/TEN DAYS THAT SHOOK THE WORLD – Sergei Eisenstein’s 1927 piece de resistance depicts the tumultuous events of 1917, as the czarist regime is toppled in February, Lenin returns from exile and the Bolsheviks overthrow Kerensky’s Provisional Government, storming the Winter Palace. (1 hour, 35 minutes.)
The programmer and co-presenter of “TEN FILMS THAT SHOOK THE WORLD” is film historian and critic Ed Rampell, who majored in cinema at Hunter College, NY and is author of Progressive Hollywood, A People’s Film History of the United States.
Screening format: A speaker briefly introduces each film and filmmaker. After every movie the speaker will make additional, relevant remarks and then open the floor up for questions and answers. This is followed with light refreshments. These black and white, silent films, with English subtitles, and perhaps musical soundtracks, are screened under imperfect conditions, although this is an opportunity to see these films projected on a big screen or not all. Admission is free of charge, although donations and potluck contributions to the refreshments will be accepted. Nobody will be turned away due to inability to donate. All screenings start at 7:00 p.m. on the fourth Friday of each month, with the exception of the final film, on Tuesday, November 7th. All screenings are at:
The Los Angeles Workers Center, 1251 S. St. Andrews Place, L.A., CA 90019. For information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.