March 31, 2017
Film school in video essay form.
[Editor’s Note: The following introduction was written by Max Winter.]
When Brian De Palma’s The Untouchables came out in the mid-1980s, the scene film buffs focused on took place in Union Station, Chicago, in which a brutal shootout between Al Capone’s mob and the FBI takes place as a baby carriage slowly bumpity-bumps down the staircase, only to be caught in the end. It’s a great piece of filmmaking—probably one of De Palma’s best—but it is also directly lifted from one of the most famous scenes in film history: the baby carriage scene from Sergei Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin.
This film was one of the cornerstones of the film movement known as Soviet formalism, covered with great agility in this video essay by Tyler Knudsen.
Knudsen’s piece shows us the whole arc of the movement, its beginnings preceded by the rapid-fire growth of the movie industry in Russian in the early 20th century, which would lead to the development of Mosfilm, one of the largest movie studios in Russian film history.