A peasant comes to St. Petersburg to find work. He unwittingly helps in the arrest of an old village friend who is now a labour leader. The unemployed peasant is also arrested and sent to fight in World War I. After three years, he returns ready for revolution.
Perhaps Soviet silent cinema is not everyone's idea of a top evening's entertainment but this historical epic makes for powerhouse viewing with some incredible long shots and amazing access and finance for the times. This Pudovkin classic and Eisenstein's "October" were both commissioned to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the revolution itself.
Directed by Vsevold Pudovkin, The End Of St. Petersburg traces the turmoil of the October Revolution in 1917 through the eyes of a young peasant boy.
The storytelling is speedy, if sprawling and a knowledge of Russian history is required, but what leaves one breathless are the audacious set pieces (the outbreak of war, the storming of the Winter Palace), the lucidity of the images, great close-ups of rich faces and a virtuoso editing style that makes most modern films look archaic.