Director: Alexander Dovzhenko
Year Released: 1929
Dovzhenko does his interpretation of the Kiev Arsenal workers' strike/armed revolt in the Ukraine in 1918 that had the workers trying to assist the Soviet Red Army but were met with opposition by the Kiev government. With narrative clarity not exactly this film's forte, what one's left with is the director's astounding compositional sense and editing mastery, deliberately unafraid to connect various images and generate a cinematic frenzy: I wouldn't go so far as to say he's better aesthetically than Vertov or Eisenstein, but he does have a taste for embellishment. A fair amount of research - for those that aren't scholars - is necessary for understanding the back story and Dovzhenko has to (justifiably) mask his skepticism about revolutionary tactics; when the 'iron man' at the conclusion cannot be felled with bullets, I can't help but view it as a half-hearted salute to the 'glory' of Communism.