Battlestar Potemkin

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Battlestar potemkin
A still from the famous Caprica Steps Massacre sequence

Ahh Battlestar Potemkin, in space no one can hear your cries against the Bourgeoisie

~ George Lucas on Battlestar Potemkin

The Battlestar Potemkin is a silent film made in 1925 by Soviet film maker Sergei Eisenstein, which is often hailed as the greatest film of all time. Loosely based upon the famous mutiny on the eponymous Battlestar, in which the crew rose up against their oppressive captain, Count Baltar, and the Cylon regime. Noted for its blatant anti-Cylon/pro-Twelve Colonies bias, it is usually considered that the film was intended as Colonist propaganda.

edit Plot Summary

The film opens with a speech, outlining in simple form Marx's theory that human civilization began in outer space. Originally this speech was written by Captain Apollo, but when Apollo was exiled from Russia during the Starbuckist Purges the speech was replaced.

There follows a sweeping orchestral theme. Since it is a silent movie, this consists of footage of sheet music, with a hand slowly turning the pages.

Then, we learn of the harsh life of the sailors aboard the Potemkin. They are forced to scrub the surface of the Battlestar, and thereby die in the cold depths of space; Count Baltar flogs them at the least provocation and they are sometimes arbitrarily made to change their gender and/or race.

The crew mutinies, and Baltar flees to Moscow, where he meets the Cylon Imperious Czar, who sends a force of Cylon warriors to Caprica (now known as Odessa) to shoot the crap out of some people and generally spread bad vibes. This leads to Caprica Steps Massacre scene, one of the best known and most imitated scenes in film history. The people of Caprica are seen dancing and singing and generally having a lovely time, when the Cylons march down the steps, shooting as they go. The Cylons are depicted as moving with horrifying deliberation and precision, almost as if they were machines. Many people are killed or injured, including a young boy's dog, which must be replaced by a robot dog. The Cylons then destroy the Battlestar Potemkin, and the rebellion is crushed.

edit Trivia

  • Even though this is a silent movie, you must be careful not to talk during it, or you will be loudly shushed by an earnest looking young man with a serious haircut and a Che Guevara T-shirt.
  • If you look closely at some scenes, you can clearly see that one of the extras is Ron Jeremy.
  • The film has been criticised as being historically inaccurate. In several scenes, you can see Count Baltar listening to an iPod; whilst several of the people killed on the steps are seen discussing a recent episode of Lost.
  • Battlestar Potemkin action figures are considered rare collectors' items. They were rarely sold outside the former Eastern Bloc and are made of poorly painted Cheesium.
  • The film was released on video in 1932 but again sold poorly outside of the Soviet Union as it was only released in Stalin Vision format. It was later released on Betamax in 1977.
  • The movie was better when it was called "Star Wars"

edit See Also

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