Eisenstein’s grandly orchestrated film about the Russian Revolution, commissioned for its 10th anniversary, was one of his most ambitious attempts to find a form for his theories of montage. If there is a star of October, it is the mass, the collective protagonist. This film, Eisenstein noted, “is pure ‘typage,’” a reference to the notion that a performer’s role was not to convey a psychological situation, but rather to telegraph a type, a set of moral or political associations, through their physical appearance. October is a supreme example of how an insurrectionary political will might be combined with an equally radical aesthetic program, and is being presented on the centenary of the “ten days that shook the world.” 35mm print courtesy of the Harvard Film Archive.
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