Today’s screening of this recent complete restoration of Eisenstein’s masterpiece is accompanied by internationally renowned concert pianist & composer Chris Jarrett playing his own new score live on the Electric Palace piano.
Based on historical events the movie tells the story of a riot at the Battleship Potemkin. What started as a protest strike when the crew was given rotten meat for dinner ended in a riot. The sailors raised the red flag and tried to ignite the revolution in their home port Odessa.
The theme of this film – often considered the greatest masterpiece of the silent movie era and one of the most ingenious productions in all of film history – is the People’s Rebellion in the Russia of 1905. Basically, Eisenstein followed the historical truth of the mutiny on the Potemkin in 1905:
After a series of defeats during the Russian-Japanese War the pressures imposed on the crews by their officers in the Black Sea Navy intensified, so the crew of the “Prince Potemkin of Tauria” grew more and more nervous, and Bolshevik leaders plan a rebellion.
On the 14th of June, a group of the sailors refused to eat the rotten meat set before them. When these sailors were then sentenced to be executed a mutiny burst forth. The officers were taken captive and then the ship entered the port of Odessa to bury a leader of the rebellion. The striking workers of Odessa showed solidarity with the rebellious shipmates of the crew – also at the same time hoping to free themselves from the yoke of Tsarist rule.
Chris Jarrett’s ‘ Battleship Potemkin’ music is considered completely personal ; partly improvised ; partly a composed score – which come together to underline Sergei Eisenstein’s anti-militaristic message. Jarrett’s music is much more than an accompaniment; it is a personal comment taking a stand for the politically oppressed and mistreated.
A review : “The composition followed Eisenstein’s evocative montage from beginning to end. At the same time, Jarrett succeeded in curbing the sentimentality and the ‘good guy vs. bad guy’ themes of some of the scenes. A perfect film score, and first class piano-playing – both technically and emotionally.”