Sunday, October 4, 2009

21. Stachka/Strike (1924)

Running Time: 94 minutes
Directed By: Sergei M. Eisenstein
Written By: Grigori Aleksandrov, Sergei M. Eisenstein
Main Cast: Grigori Aleksandrov, Aleksandr Antonov, Mikhail Gomorov, Maksim Shtraukh

FOR ME, THIS MOVIE WAS A BIG 'STRIKE' OUT

I have heard the name of Sergei M. Eisenstein heralded many times in the past, however, I hope all that praise is not due to this film, because Strike did nothing for me.

The movie is cut up into six parts, each with their own title. The film kicks off with a factory full of uneasy and agitated workers, tired of the dishonesty and greed of their employers. The higher ups get word of the co-workers unrest and send spies into the factory to keep an eye on the men. We see a big, overly long montage, introducing all of the spies, who all have code names: The Fox, The Owl, Bulldog, The Monkey...just to name a few.
The second part opens with one of the workers coming to the realization that a micrometer, worth 25 rubles or three weeks pay, has been stolen. He immediately informs the bosses, but they, in turn, immediately suspect him of being the thief. The worker goes downstairs and hangs himself in front of his peers, leaving a note that says, he did not want to go on living being labeled a thief and that he was innocent. The workers stop work and go on strike almost immediately.

The third part begins with the workers meeting to discuss their demands. They want three main things: 1) An eight hour work day, with a six hour work day for minors, 2) 30% wage increase and 3) fair treatment by the administration. They send their list to the shareholders and the director of the factory, who receive their demands and have a good time sharing a laugh and completely dismissing them. The owner of the factory is shown in frustration as orders continue to pile up with no workers to fulfill them.

The fourth part shows the hardships on the workers after going an extended time with no employment. We see a man going through some of his old things, for the reason of going to the flea market to try and earn some money. We are also shown some of the unrest that's occurring in the homes of the workers, as we see a man and wife get into an argument and the wife storming out on her factory opposed husband.

I'll spare the final parts, as I don't intend to spoil anything for anyone here, only to say that the final ten minutes of the movie are really worth seeing. We see shots of the police and the strikers, intercut with scenes of a cow being slaughtered. While watching this film, you get the sense that you're really watching something very powerful and something that obviously Eisenstein had a great deal of passion for. With that being said, it just didn't really do a whole lot to quench my thirst for a great film. I found myself quite bored and lost in all the symbolism that this movie tries to project. All in all I would have to consider this one a recommendation to avoid.

RATING: 2.5/10 I'll give it a 2.5 for the final ten minutes alone, as that was truly some great cinema, the rest I could've done without.

NEXT UP: GREED...Erich von Stroheim's four plus hour masterpiece.

October 4, 2009 4:51pm

3 comments:

  1. You are doing a great job, stick with it. I am very proud of how well you are doing!

    ReplyDelete
  2. My third bit of Soviet realism/propagander from Mr. E., and even I was getting tired of stereotype opressive tsarist baddies gunning down por defenceless workers... Whilst I think (said before), you were a little harsh on Octber (Which I think is better than this one), fair comment on Strike. (But then we wern't there at the time..)
    Ray

    ReplyDelete
  3. "But then we weren't there at the time"

    Great point, as I think this would have more of an impact on certain audiences, specifically Russians and people who were living at that time. Sergei M. just isn't for me.

    ReplyDelete

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