Eistenstein's first film deals with a widespread labor strike in a rural factory and is, without doubt, one of the most astonishing debuts in film history. His introduction of dialectical montage--which included then-innovative shock cuts to such violent images as a raised club, a bloody face, and a bull's throat being cut--both disturbed and galvanized contemporary audiences. Combined with the expressionistic compositional style Eisenstein had absorbed from French and German films, it established its director as a new force in world cinema.
Commissioned by the government to commemorate the first, failed Bolshevik revolution, the film covers a 1912 strike at a metalworks factory whose workers have been bullied and humiliated by the plant management. When a fired worker commits suicide, the workers organize a peaceful strike. But the plant bosses make use of agents provocateurs and eventually bring in the czar's troops, who crack down on the strikers with maximum brutality. Aside from his editing innovations, Eisenstein pioneered the concept of the collective group as a character, influenced by the example of the newly formed Soviet Union, as well as the Constructivist art of the period. FIRST TIME EVER RELEASE ON DVD FROM KINO.
NR (Not Rated)
Sergei M. Eisenstein
Factory sealed DVD
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
(THE) STRIKE was the first film made by Sergei Eisenstein. The film is a tragedy, ending in annihilation, and it does not seem to have a final resolution other than the ending title card "Remember!" That the crowned heads of Europe imposed a regime of repression upon their people for a whole century from the fall of Napoleon to the end of the First World War is a well documented fact, and so this film does not actually go over the top in portraying it. In fact, there is a lot of humor along the way, which is found off-putting by some reviewers. This humor probably belongs to a tentative strand of thinking that was going on in the Soviet film industry at the time. While STRIKE was in production, Protazanov's blend of whimsy and realism, the science fiction classic AELITA opened in Moscow, and the theater facade was decked with gigantic figures of the King and Queen of Mars. The crush of patrons was so great that the director himself was unable to get into the theater, and had to...
While the HD restoration looks great, although a little dark, I find myself going back to the old Image Entertainment DVD. Why? The image has more grain, is not so contrasty, the dvd has the original Russian intertitles which, even if one cannot understand them, have considerable graphic impact and add to the feel of the film, and, above all, because of the exhilarating Alloy Orchestra soundtrack. It makes a big difference, and seems to me a better fit for the sheer exuberance of much of the film. Another Plus: Soviet film expert Yuri Tsivian's commentary.
I've been watching and enjoying Eisenstein for ages, but watched "Strike" only recently (at the recommendation of my SEIU union president, no less). Strike is a truly revolutionary film -- as art and entertainment, as well as politics. While Eisenstein could always succeed at these three levels, his films became more and more "conservative" over time, more ponderous, more conventional, more obsessed with power. This first film is full of energy and surprises -- company spies you can't help liking for their comical antics; agents-provocateurs you admire for their theatricality; dream sequences on a par with Twin Peaks. But it also tells the story of a strike with all the power and clarity of the best labor movies (e.g. Norma Rae), yet on a bigger, more brutal scale. The Alloy Orchestra provides a score that equals the epic panoramas of the factories, tenements, and intense conflict. They cover Eisenstein's emotional range from the hilarious to the devastating. One of my top ten.
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