The Pointless Century

S3E5 - Battleship Potemkin / Man with Movie Camera

Rachel gets angry about the dramatization of an event from 116 years ago; Anna thinks really hard about shot selection and sequence; Frank swears he isn’t a tankie then recklessly glosses over the birth pangs of the most 20th-century of nations; we all agree that these films are great feats of cinema, but we have somewhat different attitudes toward the meaning and value of propaganda.

8 months ago

Episode Notes

S3 E5: Battleship Potemkin / Man with Movie Camera

Rachel gets angry about the dramatization of an event from 116 years ago; Anna thinks really hard about shot selection and sequence; Frank swears he isn’t a tankie then recklessly glosses over the birth pangs of the most 20th-century of nations; we all agree that these films are great feats of cinema, but we have somewhat different attitudes toward the meaning and value of propaganda. For more detailed explanations of historical context than Frank gives here, please consult the podcasts in the notes below.

Battleship Potemkin. Dir. Sergei Eisenstein. Writ. Nina Agadzhanova, Sergei Eisenstein, & Grigoriy Aleksandrov. Perf. Aleksandr Antonov, Vladimir Barskiy, Grigoriy Aleksandrov, Nina Poltavtseva, Prokhorenko, A. Glauberman. Mosfilm, 1925.

Man with Movie Camera. Dir. Dziga Vertov. Writ. Dziga Vertov. Perf. Mikhail Kaufman, Elizaveta Svilova. VUFKU, 1929.

FURTHER READING & LISTENING:

Duncan, Mike. Revolutions. Season 10: May, 2019-present.

Eisenstein, Sergei. Film Form & The Film Sense. Translated and edited by Jay Leyda. Meridian, 1964.

Painter, Mark. The History of the Twentieth Century. Ep. 31-235 (May 2016-Apr. 2021). [This huge range of episodes obviously deals with much more than Russian history, but listening to selected episodes in this span will cover the period from the Russo-Japanese War to Stalin’s first Five-Year Plan and thus will explain everything from the events that inspired Battleship Potemkin to the era in which it was produced.]

Vertov, Dziga. Kino-Eye: The Writings of Dziga Vertov. Edited by Annette Michelson. Translated by Kevin O’Brien. University of California Press, 1995.

The Pointless Crew: Frank Fucile (he/him/his) – Lit & Theory, Film & Media, Genre, Enviro & Tech Studies // Rachel Hamele (she/her/hers) – History, Humanities, Queer Studies, Fandoms // Anna Wendorff (she/her/hers) – Communications, Rhetorics of Sci & Tech, Feminism // Madalyn McCabe (she/her/hers) – Sound Editing, European Studies

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MUSIC: REFUSED – “Tannhaüser / Dérive” (Burning Heart, 1998) SLEEP – “The Sciences” (3rd Man, 2018)

ART: Screen shot from Battleship Potemkin, Blu-Ray edition (with colorization), dir. Sergei Eisenstein (Mosfilm, 1925 / Kino Lorber, 2010)

The Pointless Century is a podcast of informal discussions about literature and film seeking to understand 20th century history and illuminate 21st century politics. Professor Frank Fucile and research assistants Anna Wendorff and Rachel Hamele work their way through comparative studies of canonical works, examples from pop culture, and some cult classics while reflecting on subjects like technology, art, class, race, gender, sexuality, the environment, (as always) war, and (inevitably) fascism.