BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN: The Film That Revolutionized Cinema

SAILOR: “Shoulder to shoulder. The land is ours. Tomorrow

is ours . . .”

The experiments of Russian film theorist Lev Kuleshov in the

1910s and 1920s demonstrated a mental phenomenon (which

later came to be known as The Kuleshov Effect) whereby film

viewers derive much more meaning from the interaction of two

sequential film shots than from a single long shot in isolation.

This “reading between the lines” / “space between the shots”

is what director Sergei Eisenstein was determined to test on

a much grander scale when he was assigned the task of creating a

commemoration of the tumultuous yet revolutionary events of 1905.

The original script for the project, as penned by Nina Agadzhanova, originally highlighted eight individual, yet related episodes of the 1905 revolution. These included the Russo-Japanese War, the massacre of the Armenians, the revolutionary events in St. Petersburg, and

the Moscow uprising.

When direction of the film was assigned to 27-year-old Sergei Eisenstein, he quickly surmised that ongoing technical delays (in the form of every filmmaker’s eternal foe — the weather), necessitated a culling of the original script’s epic proportions and length.

Eisenstein eventually settled on a film centered on just one of the many events in the original script — the Potemkin Mutiny. An original score was then commissioned from Edmund Meisel. However, it was Eisenstein's hope that, in order to retain its relevance as a

propaganda film for every new generation, the score would be

rewritten every 20 years.

It is in this spirit that we present Potemkin with a new musical underpinning composed by Neil Tennant & Chris Lowe (aka: The Pet Shop Boys), and performed by Tennant, Lowe, & the Dresdner Sinfoniker conducted by Jonathan Stockhammer.

The lyrics of the three vocal pieces within the Tennant-Lowe composition are largely inspired by the film's original intertitles, though one – "After All (The Odessa Staircase)" – was also prompted by the role in London of Trafalgar Square as a traditional home of political dissent.

Tennant & Lowe then decided to ask Torsten Rasch to orchestrate a special piece after hearing his song cycle Mein Herz Brennt, a record based on the music of the heavy metal rock group Rammstein.

We hope you enjoy this new 4K restoration with its updated musical accompaniment. - kcj