http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ps-v-kZzfec Sergi Eisenstein is a flipping liar! For all his power to the people anti-establishmentarianism zeal, not to mention him essentially creating modern editing techniques, his most influential work within Battleship Potemkin was made up for dramatic effect. We go about poo-pooing Hollywood for stretching history like taffy, but it seems socialist Russian film-makers are just as guilty for it. The famous and heart wrenching Odessa Steps sequence never happened in real life; Eisenstein made it up during production to symbolize the negative effect of Imperialism. This minor niggle aside, The Odessa Steps scene from Battleship Potemkin has to be one of the most famous uses of steps in film history. The grandeur and frenzy, the horror and the heartache; there is even some inadvertent comedy amongst it all. By todays standards, some may find it hard to see anything special about what Eisenstein did with Battleship Potemkin, but that does not diminish its importance. My personal favorite moment is a toss up between the mother witnessing her child die and then getting trampled, and the beautiful tracking shots following the fleeing civilians. One is a tremendous feat of visual storytelling, and the other is a highly accomplished technical experiment. The stairs are imperative to the scene, as they add danger to the action. People are falling and tripping, they are slowed down by having to descend, they have nowhere else to go; they are sitting ducks for the brutal police firing squad. Eisenstein may have used the steps to demonstrate the ills of Imperialism, but I also feel that he exposes the literal and metaphysical role that steps play in every day life something that films and film directors have attempted to carry on through the history of the medium. Like this list? Let us know in the comments section below.
Part critic-part film maker, I have been living and breathing film ever since seeing 'Superman' at the tender age of five. Never one to mince my words, I believe in the honest and emotional reaction to film, rather than being arty or self important just for cred. Despite this, you will always hear me say the same thing - "its all opinion, so watch it and make your own." Follow me @iamBradWilliams