bjornam | 12/23/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Pudovkins approach to montage was slightly different than Eisensteins. Pudovkin treated each shot as bricks in a wall, where Eisenstein would emphasise on the collision effect in each cut. This is hailed as Pudovkins masterpiece and it's a beautiful film, with strong performances and highly dramatic scenes; the climax is as impressive as they get... The ultimate motage film must be Eisensteins Potemkin, but "Mother" is also a very good choice. The tranfer is really as good as you can except, but the disc has no extras."
The Mother of the Revolution
Mr Peter G George | Ellon, Aberdeenshire United Kingdom | 07/03/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Mother is a very interesting Soviet silent film. The story is set during the unsuccessful revolt of 1905, the same revolt depicted in Eisenstein's Battleship Potemkin. The mother of the story is caught in the middle of a family conflict, as her son is involved with a group of workers organizing a strike, while her brutish husband is in a group attempting to put the strike down. In the course of the story the mother comes to understand why her son is involved with the revolution. She moves from servile respect for the authorities to sympathy with her son and his aims. She joins the revolution and makes her stand, becoming a symbol of what was to come in 1917. Like other Soviet films from this period Mother is something of a propaganda piece. Heroic workers are juxtaposed with fat, gloating capitalists, sinister police and cruel judges. But the story is still exciting and brilliantly told. The editing is Russian style, fast and breathless and occasionally a little confusing. Images flash by so quickly that it can be hard to take it all in. However at times the combination of images is outstanding, as for instance when scenes of a group of revolutionaries on the march are combined with scenes of an ice bound river breaking up and becoming a flood. The suggestion is made with cinematic images that the revolution is as inevitable as the flow of the river and will eventually overpower any resistance. The title role is wonderfully played by Vera Baranovskaya. Her face is marvellously expressive and shows how her character changes emotionally throughout the course of the film. The son played by Nikolai Batalov acts rather like a socialist realist painting, all smiling heroism. His character lacks the depth of the mother. Ultimately it is she who is the heroine in a quiet and determined way. Her bravery, in the end, is terribly moving. The print used for the Image DVD is very good. It is clear, bright and shows very little damage. The soundtrack is more of a problem. It was added to the film in 1968 and has quite a lot of background noise. Moreover it has sound effects, which is a pity, as the film would originally have been shown with only a music score. The title cards are presented in the original Russian and translated with subtitles. Sometimes these subtitles overlap the Russian text and can be a little hard to read. Also it is rather disconcerting when a great long chunk of Russian text is translated with one word of English. The DVD may have some minor faults, but it is still, without doubt, worth buying, as Mother is a very fine film, a film not as famous as Potemkin, but in many ways equally as good."