Strike

Eisenstein’s back! Hurrah, I’d almost missed him. And not only has he found his way back to the List, but this time it’s with his first ever film, 1924’s Strike, a tale of – you guessed it – a strike at a Russian metalworks factory. Tired of long days for little pay and even less respect, and after one of their colleagues kills himself after being fired for a theft he not only didn’t commit, but reported, the workers go on strike. The 1920s image quality and an overuse of shadows makes it hard to tell one character from another in many instances, but there is a creative use of editing – Eisenstein’s trademark, cutting to hard-hitting imagery or between the rich and poor, here showing the wealthy fat cats stuffed in tuxedos swilling brandy and puffing on cigars whilst the workers protest. Also, an early trick of subtitles rearranging and merging into the picture is well received, as are photographs coming to life as though printed in the Daily Prophet.
Alas, some scenes are difficult to follow, though there is much less Russian history on show here than in Sergei’s later pictures, so well done for that old boy, but overall the direction is too heavy handed.
Choose life 4/10