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End Of Saint Petersburg, The/ Deserter (Double Feature) (1927)
Starring: D. Konsovsky, V. Kovrigin, Boris Livanov, T. Makarova
Director: Vsevolod Pudovkin
Category: Avant Garde, Foreign, Classics, Classics, Special Interest
Studio: Image Ent.
193 mins



Two Pudovkin Classics

The End Of Saint Petersburg:
In 1927, Eisenstein and Pudovkin were both assigned to make films commemorating the 10th anniversary of the 1917 Revolution.The results, October and The End Of Saint Petersburg, are two of the unforgettablemasterpieces of epic filmmaking.

Pudovkin's film, the more intensely dramatic and personal of the two, opens on a farm where a peasant must stay in the field and plow as his wife dies in childbirth.Trudging to the city to seek work, he is forced into scab labor .He tragically realizes the consequences of his mistake and violently attacks his employer.After jail, he is forced to join the Army.World War I, in the best depiction until then of the horrors of battle, destroys all in its path as the bourgeois speculators grow rich.But the Revolution frees Saint Petersburg from the brutal yoke of the rich and there is born a new hope for the future.The New York Times remarked that "one feels sometimes as though this film were a remarkable newsreel of the Russian revolution."

The Deserter:
Pudovkin took up the international workers movement in this 1933 account of labor unrest among German workers.Deserter also provided Pudovkin with an opportunity to apply his ideas on montage to the still-new medium of sound, and the film remains one of the cinema's most daring examples of contrapuntal sound-image montage.

The story centers on German shipyard workers who are oppressed by both their capitalist bosses and dishonest union officials.Communists among the workers must instigate a strike.German worker Karl Renn joins their ranks, but his commitment to the cause soon weakens.When he joins a delegation that travels to the USSR, he develops a stronger class conciousness from the Soviet example and realizes that he must not "desert" his German comrades. He returns to Germany to renew the workers' cause.

Pudovkin combines the personal story of his single protagonist with the broader themes of class sturggle, shifting deftly between intimate and mass scenes.The film's soundtrack offers a rich mix of sound effects, voice, and music, as Pudovkin adopts his dynamic montage style to the sound era.