Given that James Cameron managed to achieve both commercial and critical success of his Avatar, will a remake of Eisenstein’s Potemkin manage to achieve the same results?
By: Ringo Bones
With the recent failure of the Copenhagen Climate Conference held last December 2009, it seems that the prevailing policies governing on how the finite resources of our planet now mirror that of the prevailing social conditions that led into the looming shipboard mutiny in Odessa. Given that the White Anglo-Saxon Christian elite seems to have the final say on how our planet’s finite resource extraction should be appropriated, will a planet-wide Potemkin-like mutiny be not so farfetched?
To the uninitiated – especially those who are the White-bred children of avid Tea Party 21st Century version advocates – Potemkin is a silent movie classic directed by the great Sergei Mikhailovich Eisenstein back in 1925. The movie is an account of a shipyard mutiny in Odessa. Potemkin wasn’t only one of the great “montage” films of Soviet-era Russia but also is considered as one of the masterpieces of the silent screen.
During the Golden Age of the Russian silent film era of 1924 to 1930, leading directors of the time – such as Vesevolod I. Pudovkin, Dziga Vertov, Lev Kurleshov, Alexander Dovzhenko and of course Sergei M. Eisenstein – started a movement in cinematography that would forever change it. Revolutionary idealism – freely and spontaneously expressed by artists for whom it had profound meaning – produced such outstanding works as Potemkin (1925), Mother (1925), The End of St. Petersburg (1927), Ten Days That shook the World (1928) and Earth (1930).
Despite of Cold War era censorship – remember the Red Menace tirade of Senator McCarthy of commies hiding in Hollywood? A fortunate few Americans still manage to see these films because Sergei M. Eisenstein has a reverence for the Hollywood film industry. Eisenstein visited Hollywood in 1930 and under the sponsorship of Upton Sinclair, later went on to Mexico to shoot a panoramic study of Mexican history and culture.
In the here and now, it seems that real life is almost imitating art. With the recent runaway success of James Cameron’s Avatar, the anti-imperialism theme of the movie seems to have been forcibly dragged kicking and screaming to become the fashionable ideology of the moment due to the recent failure of the Copenhagen Climate Conference. Add to that the way multinational corporations managed to swindle indigenous communities from their sustainably utilized natural resources while polluting their environment over the years that it is now save to assume that planet Earth is now set up to become one big Battleship Potemkin. Where you don’t even need those 3-D glasses to get engaged for the fight of you’re very own survival.
Given that the politics behind James Cameron’s Avatar mimic that of the revolutionary idealism of Sergei Eisenstein and his compatriots to create silent film classics, a remake of Potemkin – especially an up to date 3-D version – would probably be accepted by today’s moviegoers with open arms. More urgently so, especially when global warming skepticism and a renewed White Anglo-Saxon Protestant apologetic embrace of neo-NAZI ideology in order to counter Islamic extremism has become intellectually fashionable at the moment. And it should be in 3-D format given that Sergei Eisenstein – after seeing his first ever 3-D movie in the late 1920s – said that the future of cinematography was the 3-D motion picture. And given his newly earned clout in the Hollywood film industry due to the Oscar-worthiness of Avatar, maybe James Cameron should direct it.