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149/150 - Ivan the Terrible Parts One and Two 
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Post 149/150 - Ivan the Terrible Parts One and Two
Continuing my binge of Russian films with Sergei Eisenstein's films from 1944 and 1958. they depict the rise and fall of Czar Ivan who is crowned effectively the Emperor of Russia.

Eisenstein is an important director in world cinema who worked for over 50 years. He gave us several epic masterpieces including one of my all time great films "Battleship Potemkin". He has no less than 8 films in the top 1000.

Let's be honest - this is for completists and serious students of classic cinema. They are great movies but they are a very difficult three hours if you have been on a diet of modern cinema. Few will get past 20 minutes.

Why do I say this. the first 40 minutes is an extended coronation and the whole movie looks like it was shot in a theater - think early Shakespeare but with almost no dialogue just wide eyed expressions. Eisenstein's style is to cut from face to face and ask his actors to over emote to create drama. It's like a silent film with dialogue.

However, it's a very important film and worth seeing if, only if, you're into classic film in a big way and you have the patience to sit and think about what you're seeing and why.

On the plus side, the lighting, use of shadows, camera angles and dramatic intensity are all amazing. The first film sets up the second and only when you have say for about 3 hours does the whole work come into focus.

Strangely in the midst of this great black and white epic, sits a 15 minute color sequence. I have no idea why.

the film was made in communist Russia and evidently displeased importnat people at the time. It's very clear that on the one hand Eisenstein is trying to make a great movie about a critical person in Russian history and at the same time please his overlords in the Communist party. there are many very obvious sequences with elements of propaganda.

I'm thrilled I've seen it, did not love it and do appreciate the film in the context of Russian cinema 50-60 years ago. Grading this type of film is pointless. if you've seen it you'll know why. My mom used to force me to eat my greens and this is the cinematic equivalent. My quote on the poster "It's good for you"

Rob


Fri Apr 15, 2011 4:35 pm
Post Re: 149/150 - Ivan the Terrible Parts One and Two
I've had this in my queue for while (true of a lot of movies :oops: ) but I haven't gotten around to it. My Eisenstein education is unfortunately limited to Battleship Potemkin... need to change that soon.


Mon Apr 18, 2011 1:18 am
Post Re: 149/150 - Ivan the Terrible Parts One and Two
Definitely worth a look if you're seriously into film study.... otherwise, i'd skip
I would like to shout out the music from no less than Sergei Prokofiev
I will not forget these movies in a hurry
Rob


Mon Apr 18, 2011 2:07 am
Post Re: 149/150 - Ivan the Terrible Parts One and Two
How's the Soviet montage theory exemplified in these two films, if at all?


Tue Apr 19, 2011 12:51 pm
Post Re: 149/150 - Ivan the Terrible Parts One and Two
Pedro wrote:
How's the Soviet montage theory exemplified in these two films, if at all?


Hi Pedro

Hope you are well!

You need to educate us about the SMT

Rob


Wed Apr 20, 2011 1:35 am
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