I haven't really been listening to any new music so far this year but the last couple of days I've been listening and re-listening through some of Angelo Badalamenti's soundtracks. His music means a lot to me and I was sad when he passed away in December. His work with David Lynch (Blue Velvet, Twin Peaks, Mulholland Drive etc) and Julie Cruise, who also sadly passed away in 2022. He made the soundtracks for The City of Lost Children (the amazing "Who Will Take My Dreams Away" with Marianne Faithful), A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors and others. In 1967 he co-wrote "I Hold No Grudge" for Nina Simone. He's collaborated with Pet Shop Boys, Siouxsie Sioux, Anthrax, David Bowie, Dolores O'Riordan and more.
A lot of soundtracks aren't on spotify (like Jane Campion's 1999 Holy Smoke!) but I made a playlist with some of what I could find. Happy pup friday from the dark haunted woods of mercury in retrograde season!
It always rains on my birthday.
Not really. My birthday is in November. Sometimes it does nothing. Sometimes it snows.
It did rain on my 6th birthday. I was in Kindergarten. I walked to and from school every day. Once I got in very big trouble when, instead of walking all the way to school, I stopped at a friend’s house to play. I was in morning classes, she was in afternoon classes so when she said school didn’t start until later, I believed her. Her mom believed us both and said she’d drive me. It wasn’t until I was dropped off for my non-existent afternoon classes I learned my mistake.
My friend gave me a giant geode because we had a fun morning. My mom made me give it back because it was a fun morning I wasn’t supposed to have.
She didn’t yell at me, my mom. She told me I’d played hooky. She explained school was much too important to play hooky. I never played hooky again.
On my 6th birthday, Miss Laverne gave me a certificate that said, “Congratulations on turning 6!”
She also let me make a purple construction paper crown to wear. I wrote my name all over it and covered it in crayon 6’s. Miss Laverne had to work the stapler for me because I wasn’t strong enough yet to squeeze it.
When it was time to walk home, it was raining. On raining days my mom would drive me or pick me up or both. But I didn’t see her car waiting for me in the line of cars so I walked home.
I cried the whole way. I wore my birthday crown and carried my certificate and everything was wet from rain and I did not think turning 6 was very fun at all.
When I got home, no one was there. There was a birthday cake on the kitchen table with 6 candles in it but all the lights were off and no one was there.
So, I walked back to school in the rain, still wearing my paper crown and carrying my certificate.
At some point, my mom found me. She apologized for not seeing me when I came out of the school. It was raining too hard. When she realized what I must have done she drove home. When I wasn’t there, she traced my route, driving up and down every side street until she found me.
When we got home I took off my wet things and took a nap in my parents’ bed. I remember my sister, Kathy, was there when I woke up and the candles were lit for my cake. I remember because it was the first time I was ever mad at my mom. I remember because at that moment, my sister was the only person in the world I liked.
Then I tasted my mom’s homemade peanut butter frosting for the first time and I felt bad for not liking my mom for a minute and I cried all over again.
My brother George came home while I cried into my cake and asked me if I was crazy.
I told him my whole ordeal and showed him my messed up crown and my ruined certificate and I cried all over him. He told me to eat more cake. He told me mom would have plenty of opportunities to make me not like her. He said if he wasn’t allowed to stay mad at her, I wasn’t either. He said it was okay to be mad at her sometimes though. I just should try very hard not to stay mad at her because she really was pretty good as far as moms went and besides, “You aren’t going to be half the fuck up I am,” he said.
I laughed. Mom smacked George on the head and told him not to say the f word. Kathy said, “Ya, don’t be a fuck up like George and say fuck in front of mom and dad,”
But Kathy was smart and waited until mom wasn’t in the room when she said it. She was also eating leftover peanut butter frosting off a spatula. The sun was setting behind her outside the kitchen window and the light on her hair looked like a halo. Kathy, the Patron Saint of Peanut Butter Fucking Frosting.
I don’t like my birthdays anymore. I haven’t had a happy birthday for a very long time but this will be a very special unhappy birthday. George died when he was 54. On this birthday, I will turn 54.
So far, however, the forecast says it will not rain.
It will be a Friday the 13th though. Because fuck.
Dog model: Hutson (thanks Tim)
End of the year greetings from the pup blog. Hoping for more content and more contributors in 2023 (if you wanna be on the blog reach out!). Write about things, review things. Thanks Janie for being so cool and supportive. Thanks Michael for rad movie reviews of old movies. Thanks to the pups. I'm also excited to publish more little memoir pieces (have any? I want to see them!) Have ideas? I wanna hear them. You can find me on socials or mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I've been listening to this playlist almost exclusively the last month while making little art and taking walks and doing things. It's a happy playlist of dance music (?) mostly from 2022. You can dance to it alone or with others as ridiculously as you want. It's music that makes me happy.
By Michael Seymour Blake
If the foundation of your story is strong, you don’t need any frills. Hell, you hardly need a budget.
This Christmasy Hammer crime movie is based on The Gold Inside, a 1960 Theatre 70 episode written by Jacques Gillies. Reprising their roles are André Morell and Richard Vernon as Colonel Gore Hepburn and Pearson. Quentin Lawrence directs both versions, while David T. Chantler and Lewis Greifer provide the lively screenplay. It’s a thrilling chamber play-esque heist film, but holiday charm and dynamic chemistry between the leads make it one of my favorite yuletide watches.
Peter Cushing plays Harry Fordyce, a flinty bank manager whose primary concerns in life seem to be pristine pen nibs, smudge-free plaques, and a flawless adherence to the rules. He keeps his emotions locked up in an impenetrable vault. You get the feeling he’d be thrilled if he could replace his employees with emotionless robots. Robots don’t decorate their desks with Christmas cards (so undignified), and they wouldn’t steal from the business either (like Fordyce absurdly accuses his longtime clerk, Pearson, of).
Two days before Christmas, a suave bigshot from the insurance company named Colonel Gore Hepburn drops by to make sure everything’s up to par at the branch. During a meeting between the two men, Fordyce receives a call. It’s his wife and child. They’ve been kidnapped. His wife “beseeches” him to do anything Hepburn asks. Ya see, the electrodes attached to her head may not kill her, but they’ll do permanent damage if charged. All Fordyce must do to protect his family is help Hepburn steal roughly £90,000 from the vault.
Cash on Demand does some interesting things with its characters. Cushing’s scrooge-like portrayal of Fordyce could’ve been dull and derivative, yet he plays it a little colder than the cantankerous Scrooge. Instead of screaming at the world, he wags his finger at it. There’s a subtle vulnerability to him that Cushing carefully displays with glances at the photo of his wife he keeps on his desk, and even the way he brushes dust off his jacket as if any small imperfection would cause him to disintegrate. That’s a lotta stress to carry around. At first you don’t want to root for the guy, but as he’s slowly dismantled you can’t help but be on his side.
And then there’s Hepburn—a warmhearted, menacing, clever thief who has an earnest interest in his fellow human beings. This made for a surprising and entertaining character, and it’s part of what makes the movie so damn special. For Hepburn to work, we need to believe in his smooth confidence. We need to be charmed and frightened. Morell is more than up for the task. It’s prolly an overstatement to say he’s sagelike, but there’s wisdom to be gleaned from him while he torments you. His natural curiosity about people isn’t a front. He’s invested in them. In a different world, he’d make a better boss than Fordyce. In this world, he uses this trait to manipulate those around him.
At one point Hepburn publicly donates money to an office Christmas party, which Fordyce of course knew nothing about. He then privately forces Fordyce to return the money he just donated— Fordyce complies but he’s a dollar short (this comes into play later). The display seems to be more about teaching Fordyce a lesson in goodwill rather than simply making himself look kind to the workers.
Hepburn also knows details about the private lives of the staff. For example, he points out that Mr. Sanderson is an accomplished chess player, a fact which Fordyce neither knows nor cares about—if it ain’t office related, it may as well not exist.
But Hepburn isn’t all chuckles and friendly trivia. When he means business, his entire demeanor changes. His voice gets low, his tone becomes menacing. He’ll even slap you around if the situation calls for it. It’s these fluctuations that keep us on edge. He’s got a lot of instructions for Fordyce, some of which require delivering convincing lines to his employees. We get to watch Fordyce try out his acting chops under extreme pressure. These moments are full of great tension. They also allow for some humorously distressing interactions as the pair talk in code to each other.
Like when Hepburn warns a bank employee that it’s not the local robbers you need to worry about, it’s “these smart characters down from London.”
Fordyce, fidgeting and anxious, comments that London is far away and there would be plenty of time to construct roadblocks should a burglary take place.
Hepburn, unphased, chuckles. “You’d be surprised how these fellas can think their way around roadblocks.”
Cash on Demand serves up suspense at a nice pace: unwanted window washers pop up at pivotal moments in the heist, stress-induced forgetfulness hits when remembering a combination could mean life and death, and then there’s the anticipation of a certain phone call that may save the day… or make everything much, much worse. All that, plus just enough holiday cheer to warrant adding this to any Christmas movie marathon. The plot twist is borderline implausible, but you’ll hardly care.
Crime fans and Christmas fans alike will want to check this out. And if you love the chemistry between the leads, be sure to watch Terence Fisher’s The Hound of the Baskervilles, 1959.
12/16/2022 0 Comments
A Micro Memoir by Gina Tron
One of my favorite books growing up was about a farm family. It featured photographs of a woman milking cows and a redheaded boy feeding a cluster of chickens. When I was seven, my dad took me to a feed store where baby chickens squeaked and ran around on cedar chips. I touched their fuzzy bodies, warm from the red heat lamps and begged my dad to buy me one, and he had to drag me out of the store while I cried hysterically. I continued crying for hours after we left and became consumed with the idea of having a pet chicken, one that I could housetrain and teach how to speak. That day I noticed that on my right palm, my veins resembled the beak and head of a bird. For the next two years, I hoped this meant that having pet chickens was in my future.
For months before our baby chickens’ arrival, I read books about raising chickens. Despite having educated myself about the intellectual capabilities (and shortcomings) of the birds, I was still naive. I turned a shoe box into a bed big enough for a baby hen. I intended to pick my favorite chick and keep her in my bedroom, and I still stubbornly believed that if I tried hard enough, I could not only housetrain the bird, but teach her to speak English.
"There's no way in hell we are keeping a chicken in the house, Gina,” my mom attempted to reason with me. You can't train a chicken to do anything. Their brains are the size of peas."
All six chicks were supposed to be female, but I kept hoping that one of them would grow up to be a rooster. My premonition was correct. Big Red matured into a vicious beast with a shiny red coat and floppy comb. He would rape the hens and use his talons to attack my brother and I as we returned from schools; often we’d drop our backpacks and run into the house as we entered our property. Neighbors and friends were also met with Big Red’s rage.
After numerous incidents of numerous people being attacked my parents tried unsuccessfully to sell him at a farm show. There, he tried to attack a Rottweiler from the cardboard box, perforated with many holes, he was in. My dad’s farmer coworker ultimately decided to take him in.
The roosters there, all 12 of them, weren’t impressed with Big Red’s attitude upon his arrival. As we let him out of the cardboard box, they waddled up to meet him. He, in turn, tried to peck the face of one of them. They then collectively chased him off, ostracizing him. Big Red slept the rest of his angry, lonely life in the cow barn until coyotes ultimately killed him.
Portions of this micro memoir are from "Suspect," a memoir to be released by Vegetarian Alcohol Press in 2023.
Gina Tron is the author of multiple books, including the memoir "You're Fine.", absurdist short story collection "Eggolio and Other Fables," and poetry collections "Star 67," "Employment," and "A Blurry Photograph of Home." Forthcoming memoirs "Eat, Fuck, (Write About) Murder" and "Suspect" will be released by Vegetarian Alcoholic Press in 2023. Gina is currently eating crab eggs.
Dog model: Svetlana (thanks Colleen)
I've only listened to Of Empress and dance music for an entire week and not been focused to make an Xmas playlist. Thankfully Colleen Sieber who has excellent music taste has a brilliantly sad Xmas playlist so she's standing in at the Pup Sounds Friday dj table today.
From Colleen: "Please put in a caveat that you should listen to this at your own mental health risk."
When I was very little, when Prince ruled the airwaves, when McDonalds made little plastic Mario Koopas that fluttered and Goombas that hopped, my parents took me to the Science Museum. The streets were slushed with snow and lined with people, gazing up in awe at Emilio Fucking Estevez, seated on a device with a camera, some 20 feet in the air. And everyone whispered their hushed Minnesota whispers, asking if it were even possible that Martin Sheen’s most handsome son could really be there, before us, behind a camera and not in front of it. People in the crowd speculated that it was a double, though why his double would be behind the camera is beyond me to this day. Even more confusing was the question of how the star of Mighty Ducks might be, for any reason, filming the very movie he was meant to star in.
Anyway, months later, my dad took me and my brothers to a swimming meet in a small nothing town where the sunlight bounced off the technicolor plastics of a water park. I sat at the playground while my brothers were competing, underneath one of those swirling turret towers, and watched the light flashing on the water nearby, where boys that would someday become men who really knew how to hold their breath, thrashed madly through the pool as their coaches screamed commands.
I thought about Emilio Estevez, about the way his eyes locked with mine, and I convinced myself that he was probably in love with me. I had been watching The Breakfast Club since I was 4 years old, and thus this seemed entirely possible. Probable, even.
All this is to say, I was also a swimmer. I can hold my breath for a really long time.
I’m doing it right now.
12/2/2022 0 Comments
Pup Sounds Friday: 12/02/2022
Dog model: Brewski (thanks Penni)
December isn't the best time for new album releases but a couple have caught my attention: London-based Sophie Jamieson's contemplative Choosing, and Canadian Black Ox Orkestar's Everything Returns "offering a distinctive take and timbre within the contemporary landscape of Jewish, Yiddish and klezmer music." (from their spotify bio). Irish multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Anna Mieke's album Theatre from a couple of weeks back is also worth checking out.
Otherwise this friday''s playlist is populated by mostly instrumental and ambient music.
It's a good playlist to walk in the woods to, I think, or wherever you can walk.
by Michael Seymour Blake
You’re an innocent British child in 1992. It’s a quarter to 10 and your parents allow you to watch some nighttime television with them. BBC’s been on in the background, but none of you have been paying it much attention.
Turns out it’s a live news broadcast from an allegedly haunted house. One of the reporters is Sarah Greene, a children’s programming host. It becomes increasingly obvious that this whole “investigation” is just the network’s way of serving up some spooky Halloween fun—even if it is at the expense of homeowner Pamela Early (Brid Brennan) and her two daughters.
But something doesn’t feel right. There’s a ghoulish figure lingering near the curtains in the children’s room. You’re sure of it. Others are too. People keep calling the provided number to talk about it.
Back on the set, Host Michael Parkinson, a trusted and familiar journalist/broadcaster, pulls up a still of the curtains. The thing, whatever it is, looms there. You feel its eyes on you. Michael and his guest, parapsychologist Dr. Lin Pascoe (Gillian Bevan), attribute the illusion to shadows and rumples in the material.
They could be right. Maybe it’s just a trick of the light.
No, something’s there. The Early children refer to this entity as “Pipes” because that’s initially what their mother blamed the ongoing strange banging noises on—the benign innards of an unhaunted house.
Pipes. The denomination gives you goosebumps.
Outside on the streets, locals tell frightening stories involving dead dogs, ghost defecation, and child killers. All this, and you’re pretty sure (you keep doubting yourself) that you’ve spotted Pipes a few more times. Silently surveying with those black, sunken eyes…
Your parents exchange poorly concealed looks of concern. The thudding in your chest is almost unbearable. Something evil is unfolding before the entire nation’s eyes. Your parents call the network in a panic. The signal’s busy. Any semblance of youthful security crumbles away as vomit rises in your throat.
Many people were similarly traumatized by the brilliant, misguided airing of Ghostwatch.
Had those poor souls tuned in earlier, they would’ve seen a message making it very clear this was all fiction—a TV movie written by Stephen Volk made to look like a live broadcast. But it’s 1992. You can’t rewind in real time, and the internet is nowhere near what it is today. Thousands felt duped, angered, and traumatized.
Missing that essential opening disclaimer left deciphering the authenticity of the events purely up to everyone’s own critical thinking abilities… and when people are afraid, critical thinking is often the first thing to go. Entire households temporarily lost their footing with reality, women went into early labor, a man defecated in his pants, people puked from pure fright, and, saddest of all, a boy reportedly took his own life days after watching.
The BBC didn’t see it coming. They anticipated some people phoning in, but they’d set up automated messages assuring everyone what they witnessed was for entertainment purposes only. They also had operators on standby to assuage the occasional extra nervous viewer. Thing is, the lines became so flooded that many were met with a busy signal.
Panic and outrage led to this being the first and only airing of Ghostwatch.
This movie’s controversial history may pique your interest or turn you off, but is it any good?
For my money—very.
Director Lesley Manning recalls the filming experience as “fantastically technical.” That much is apparent from the start. It takes a lotta work to create the illusion of live television, and there’s an undeniable meticulousness about Ghostwatch. Executives initially pictured a more traditional filming style—ya know, shot on film with dramatic angles, a polished look, maybe a bit more cinematic distance from all the action—but Manning was committed to verisimilitude. Why ruin the broadcast TV effect by shooting on film? She wanted it to look as authentic as possible. No fancy cinematography or any of that. And she wanted it all on tape, and a good portion utilizing a handheld camera. The final product mimics what a live TV special would look like at the time.
Creative restraint pulled me further into the deception. Besides the opening security footage, Ghostwatch holds back the horror as much as possible, making every effort to seem like nothing is going to happen. Hanging back so boldly earns it a ton of believability. But if you’re not into subtlety, don’t worry—it gets pretty apocalyptic later.
There’s a possession scene that I’d stand by as being one of the best in cinema thanks to how understated it is. Movie possessions often go over the top. They’re frightening in the moment, but eventually kinda blend into each other with tons of screams, howls, and guttural ramblings. This one feels domestic and conceivable. I still can’t stop hearing “what big eyes you have.”
Even at its mildest, there’s an ominous mood throughout Ghostwatch. I never felt safe (despite occasionally having to remind myself I wasn’t, in fact, watching some dry British program). Take the infrared camera demonstration at the beginning for example. Excited people wave and laugh, all thermally lit up. I couldn’t quite say why, but it put me on edge. And any technical blip sent a jolt of fear down my spine.
During an interview about Ghostwatch, a concerned mother described how deeply the pseudo-documentary disturbed her child even before anything spooky actually occurred. There was just “something very sinister in the presentation,” she says.
Something sinister in the presentation. Couldn’t have said it better.
The acting is almost flawless. There are some points when you can see through the charade, but everyone knows the mission. They keep it natural, occasionally sloppy (even stumbling over their words), occasionally awkward. The imperfect stuff of real life. During the first act, a jovial (maybe selling it slightly too hard?) Craig Charles speaks with the Earlys. They seem uncomfortable, words almost muttered, mouths too far away from the microphone. The impression we’re left with is a believable family desperately looking for help. When Pamela chokes up I bought it so hard I went broke.
Further selling the “live television” fiction are the street interviews, which involve local non-actors sharing ghost stories. These apparently-unscripted segments are like sinister pinches of realism spice sprinkled over the baked slow burn horror pie that is this movie.
Some beautifully planned moments can, even if for a second, trick you into thinking you’re watching genuine events transpire.
One of my favorites is when a mysterious circle of goo appears on the Early’s living room carpet. Reporter Sarah Greene uses a handkerchief to check the light fitting for a leak from above, finding everything perfectly dry. Dr. Pascoe asks her (through an earpiece) to sniff the “hanky.” I wanted to scream “don’t do it.” She brings it to her nose and takes a whiff. Nope, no smell. Then the ever-professional doctor requests a sample of the stuff. Greene agrees, but doesn’t have anything to collect it with. That’s when the sound recordist hands her a lens duster. The flow here is so natural that I was momentarily impressed by his spontaneous resourcefulness (of course, it was all in the script).
I could stop here, but I want to describe a little more because I just love it:
Improvised sample tool in hand, Greene crouches over the ooze and uses the suction created by squeezing and releasing the duster to siphon some up. Slurp, slurp, slurp. Such an uncomfortable moment. While you’re busy being vaguely worried about her interacting with the substance, one of the children suddenly appears for a nice little jump scare.
Lurking at the center of it all is Pipes, whose menacing presence violates even the most lighthearted of scenes. By the end, the dribs and drabs we get of his backstory form a haunting mythology. Also, watch closely and you’ll notice him popping up now and again. After I finished Ghostwatch, I went back and rewatched some of the appearances I’d missed. Somehow knowing he was present without my having noticed it made Pipes even more frightening.
Ghostwatch asks us if we should trust something simply because it’s on TV. Should we accept whatever a familiar face on the screen tells us is true? Whether this movie explores these concepts successfully, I can’t say. It sure fooled a ton of people. But did it make them question their favorite news sources, or fact check a celebrity’s comment on some sociopolitical issue? Either way, I respect the ambition.
I may admire this movie too much. I don’t necessarily think it has mass appeal. It’s almost 2023 and most of us have seen some grisly stuff. You may come away underwhelmed. Still, I find it to be, at minimum, among the best “found footage” horror movies ever made. It’s classy without being too stiff and gruesome without using gore.
One thing’s certain: had I seen Ghostwatch as a child that one fateful night in 1992, I would’ve spontaneously combusted.
by Michael Seymour Blake
For some, 1925’s Battleship Potemkin was basically a horror movie. It was banned in France, The United Kingdom, and America due to fears it might incite a mass uprising. Let me repeat that. This film was banned in France, The United Kingdom, and America because they thought maybe a bunch of citizens would watch it and be like, “Let’s overthrow our government! Communism!”
As of now it still holds the record for being banned longer than any other film in British history. But the best part is that it was eventually banned in The Soviet Union too. That’s right. This movie, which drips with Soviet ideology, was banned by Stalin because even he worried it would cause people to revolt. That’s one terrifyingly powerful film.
But it’s not only famous for the sociopolitical weight of its story, the movie also showcases some incredible examples of montage that people still oogle over today. And the Odessa steps sequence itself. Whew! Still shocking and affecting.
The movie doesn’t give us much of a backstory, it simply shows us a situation and unrolls from there. You don’t need to know more than that. Still, it’s nice to have a barebones understanding of the historical context.
By 1905, the Russian Empire was riddled with social unrest. Multiple defeats in The Russo-Japanese War further stirred feelings of discontent and disillusionment. Revolution seemed imminent. Millions of dissatisfied workers were on strike, and naval mutinies began to spread. One of these mutinies took place on the Knyaz Potemkin Tavricheskiy. That’s our ship.
We’re quickly aligned with the already-agitated Black Sea Fleet crew, who are abused and disparaged by the officers in charge. After they refuse to eat maggot-infested meat, the ship’s doctor is called for a public inspection. He clearly ignores the squirming insects and asserts (in title cards) “Those aren’t maggots.” They are, he claims, simply dead fly eggs. The crew rejects the rotten meat.
The ship’s captain, tired of everyone’s complaints, doubles down. He separates those who are “dissatisfied” with the food and condemns them to death. But before the assembled firing squad carries out their sentence, a heroic sailor named Vakulinchuk shouts, “Brothers! Who are you firing on?” His words give them pause. They lower their weapons. An officer tries to reassert control, grabbing for one of the rifles. Then total chaos erupts. The firing squad joins the crew in mutiny. Vakulinchuk is killed in the skirmish.
After successfully commandeering the ship, the crew ports at Odessa and displays Vakulinchuk’s body for all to see. The citizens are roused into action, sending skiffs packed with supplies to the mutineers. But czarist troops appear at the top of a long flight of steps and descend on the crowd like one barbarous creature, killing without restraint or mercy.
The ending is suspenseful, but don’t expect a ton of excitement after the famous Odessa steps sequence (how could it possibly get better than that anyway?).
Propaganda doesn't have to work as a great piece of art, but this movie is both. While modern audiences might be a little bored at times, an underlying vigor keeps this cinematic ship afloat (sorry). Director Sergei Eisenstein said, “Language is much closer to film than painting is.” And there is poetry here; semi-surrealistic images of ghostly hanging sailors, a priest who looks like he belongs in Clash of the Titans, and three lion statues cleverly edited to give the impression of one waking beast all contribute to a feeling of watching an ode on the screen.
The outbursts of violence rival almost any other movie I can think of, at least on an emotional level. Stanley Kauffmann describes the overall feel of the film as “extraordinary eavesdropping,” and that’s one reason why it packs such a punch. At times I was so invested it seemed like I was watching real footage some creative weirdo had shot and stored in their basement.
At one point, the camera cuts to a woman who’s been brutally slashed in the face. There’s no story arc for her as we’ve only just “met” her moments prior. Yet she doesn’t feel expendable. We grieve her loss because she represents the people, and this is largely a story about groups, not individuals. Their deaths are everybody’s deaths. In fact, the ship itself reads as a kind of mass entity… like how some ants can interlock themselves into a raft for crossing bodies of water. The ship becomes the people. Or the people become the ship? Now I’m babbling.
Despite Battleship Potemkin’s legendary status and it being nearly 100 years old, I don’t meet many people who have seen it (outside of film-loving circles and some students). If you haven’t yet, I encourage you to—and not just for the Odessa steps sequence. It’s an important piece of work that explored what montage (which is basically editing) is capable of. Notice how and when the cuts occur. Something’s always being said. We take much of these things for granted now, but back then this was some truly wild stuff.
Eisenstein ideally wanted the score to be rewritten every 20 years so it could remain relevant to newer generations. A cool idea that’s, for me, unnecessary. What’s presented to us works as is. Simple. Direct. Inspiring. Hell, Potemkin radiates sonic energy even without any soundtrack.
This movie is a warning: Don’t tell people that maggots aren’t maggots, literally or symbolically.
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