“Alexander Nevsky” (1938) the real Sergei Eisenstein epic

Sergei Eisenstein’s unfathomable, awe-inspiring war epic that’s an allegory to the Germans and the Catholic church in pre-revolution Russia. The vision is of the power of the modern Russian citizen, standing up against bourgeois apathy and laziness. An uprising of the people of Novgorod and Russia, led by a handsomely blonde hair flowing General, Alexander Nevsky, that speaks for the people, is reasonable in his logic and exists solely as a symbol for revolution.

The cinematography is heavenly, with Eisenstein utilizing the bottom of the frame, leaving the upper third floating in the sky. As deadly battles happen below, with the horizon so low on wide shots, it’s a film looking towards the heavens. Religion being a driving theme both narratively and visually. In classic Eisenstein fashion, he manages to control a mob of extras to get beautifully composed shots with tons of bodies slamming into one another. Beautifully organized chaos capturing the conquering battle in great detail. An all-time battle set piece is shown in all its glory.

Ostensibly no other film is shot in this same manner and energy, save for Eisenstein’s other work. It’s a work of symbolic mastery, relating the plight of Nevsky and his people against the overwhelming threat of the Teutonic Knights to all struggles. The beauty is captured in the ethereal, and for a hero narrative, it elevates Nevsky to another realm. It’s the birth of a modern folk tale told magnificently through the power of a camera

Review: ☆☆☆☆½

Verdict: Pretty Weird


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