Battleship Potemkin – Sounds of Silence Festival
October 28, 2021
9:30 pm
The Hague
Theater De Nieuwe Regentes
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Battleship Potemkin (Sergei Eisenstein, Russia, 1925)

Odessa, 1905 – Enraged with the deplorable conditions on board the armored cruiser Potemkin, the ship’s loyal crew contemplates the unthinkable – mutiny. Seizing control of the Potemkin and raising the red flag of revolution, the sailors’ revolt becomes the rallying point for a Russian populace ground under the boot heels of the Czar’s Cossacks. When ruthless White Russian cavalry arrives to crush the rebellion on the sandstone Odessa Steps, the most famous and most quoted film sequence in cinema history is born. Sergei Eisenstein’s 1925 masterpiece has remained the most influential silent film of all time, considered one of the most important films in the history of silent pictures, as well as possibly Eisenstein’s greatest work. Battleship Potemkin brought Eisenstein’s theories of cinema art to the world in a powerful showcase: his emphasis on montage, his stress of intellectual juxtaposition, and his treatment of the mass instead of the individual as the protagonist.

Music by Ensemble Modelo62

To retain its relevance as a propaganda film for each new generation, Eisenstein hoped the score for Battleship Potemkin would be rewritten every 20 years. However he did not foresee was that “musicalized silent films” would become a genre per se, and therefore many more soundtracks were composed for this film that he could have hoped for. Almost a century after its premiere, in 1926, and according to Eisenstein wish, this version would represent to the sixth generation of scores for the film. The score will be on charge of Modelo62’s artistic and musical director Ezequiel Menalled and the instrumentation will consist in an ensemble of similar size of the original from 1926, although with a different instrumental combination and including the use of electronic sounds.

On it, there will be different discursive layers in simultaneous: the first one will be the sounds produced by the ensemble itself; the second one will be the electronic sounds derived from remnants of previous soundtracks for the film; and the third and last layer will be some scattered sounds alla Foley (making the sounds of the actions and objects displayed in the film) but applied in a free and creative way.