Pudovkin: Second Greatest Soviet Director of Silent Film

         Vsevolod Pudovkin was a Russian film maker who was born in 1893 and died in 1953. He is considered the second greatest director of the Soviet silent cinema. He was one of the producers for the film The Death Ray, but his first full-length film that he directed was a documentary entitled The Mechanics of the Brain. But his most famous movie is the film Mother, which is set in 1905 around the time of the Bolshevik Revolution.

        Mother achieved the sort of fame and popularity on an international scale that was achieved by The Battleship Potemkin, directed by Sergei Eisenstein in. What makes Mother and its director so important is the editing of the film and its montage sequences. Mother was absolutely beautiful in its shooting. What makes the film so historically significant is that, while its predecessor, Potemkin, was about the uprising of violence in the overthrow of the Russian government, Mother is focused on the people that were caught up in the Bolshevik Revolution. The film Mother is beautiful in its representation of the people whose lives were changed forever by the Revolution and the emotion of these life-altering moments that people felt.

        What Pudovkin does so admirably with this film is his montage sequencing. His ability to mesh metaphorical and narrative together is simply breathtaking. The most poignant example of this is evident when Pavel, the son, is running across the river on ice floes, making his escape from his prison cell. As he is making his run across the floes, the floes connect violently with a bridge that is over the river where the workers coming home from work will clash with the marching floes for the final climatic sequence of the film. The use of the montage for this massacre only provides for an intensely emotional and revolutionary climax to an endearing and affectionate film.

        Pudovkin was also responsible for two other great silent films, The End of St. Petersburg and Heir to Genghis Khan. Though he was able to make sound pictures that were relatively well-respected, he was never better known for film as with Mother, The End of St. Petersburg, and Heir. He was a magician of the silent film and is respected internationally and rightfully so.

Ryan Williams

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