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October: Ten Days that Shook the World "Cannonball" lowers

by Michael Frierson

Reflecting on ways his silent films have worked to ‘”seize the spectator,” Eisenstein notes that rigid adherence to “closed action” – the diegesis “conditioned by time and space” – is limiting. Here, with the spatial relationship between the two shots unspecified, “Thesis is brought to expression.” (Intellectual montage.) Eisenstein argues cinema should move beyond the methods of theatre as its model for creating meaning, and move towards “the methodology of language, which gives rise, through the combination of concrete descriptions and concrete objects, to quite new concepts and ideas.” Here, using quasi-diegetic material – the descending cannon --“apparently by chance,” Eisenstein can make a thesis statement, using visual concrete images to create a new idea, just like language. Notice too that the false eyeline-match of the soldier tend to knit the spaces together.

October: Ten Days that Shook the World, Cannon lowers

Eisenstein writes of this sequence: "A trench packed with soldiers seems to be crushed by the weight of an enormous cannonball [actually a cannon on an assembly line] descending on the whole thing. Thesis brought to expression."

from October: Ten Days that Shook the World (1928)
Creator: Sergei Eisenstein
Distributor: Corinth
Posted by Michael Frierson