Many of you may not be aware, but film after the revolution were well, revolutionary. As Gregory Freeze notes in his text, “The Bolsheviks were cultural revolutionaries, particularly in their feverish attempt to construct a new symbolic world… to bestow legitimacy on the new order” (305). The Bolsheviks loved modern technology and film and as Lenin declared, was the most important medium for education the masses in the means and ways of communism. It wasn’t as easy as it sounds however, because although film was starting to become a big thing, as Freeze puts it, the people ” continued to prefer escapist American and German adventure films to those designated for their edification” (338).
Along came Sergei Eisenstein who was often considered to be “The Father of Montage”. One of his first films created was Battleship Potemkin which was a dramatized version of a mutiny that occurred in 1905. It was proclaimed as one of the most influential propaganda films of all time (where the picture above is taken from). This film was so widely acclaimed because many believed that it could turn a Bolshevik non-believer into one after watching this film.
It’s easy to see how a film with that much popularity could be turned into a massive influential tool like Lenin (and later Stalin) both proclaimed. As Freeze states, “It was no coincidence that in a country battling against illiteracy, the Bolsheviks placed special emphasis on the visual arts” (338). Cinema was just beginning to become a popular outlet for citizen looking for something new, and I think it was widely understated in the importance it had on the people and how the Bolsheviks used it to gain popularity and support.