Special Event of the Retrospective during the Berlinale 2005
Screenings with live orchestral accompaniment on February 12 and 13, 2005 in the Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Berlin
With its pioneering editing techniques, Battleship Potemkin (USSR 1925, director: Sergei Eisenstein) revolutionized cinematic art. Shot for the 20th anniversary of the Russian revolution of 1905 within a mere three months, the film catapulted 27-year-old Sergei Eisenstein into the ranks of the world’s best directors. The music which Edmund Meisel then composed for the film’s German premiere in 1926 also played a decisive role in its worldwide success. Yet the story of this film is also a story of mutilation, as the film constitutes one of the most spectacular cases of censorship in the 1920s. No complete print of the Russian premiere version of the film has survived.
80 years after its first screening in Russia and 100 years after the events it portrays, Battleship Potemkin will be presented for the first time in a newly reconstructed version. This presentation of the film will screen as a special event of the Retrospective section during the 55th Berlin International Film Festival. This new reconstruction of the Russian premiere version includes, for the first time, the Russian intertitles with their original graphics as well as Leo Trotsky’s opening words. What is more, the changes and cuts carried out, for instance, on the famous staircase sequence as a result of the film’s reworking and censorship have been corrected.
For the newly reconstructed version of the film, Edmund Meisel’s music has been revised by Helmut Imig with dramaturgical advice from Lothar Prox. The screenings of the silent film on February 12 and 13, 2005 will be accompanied by the German Film Orchestra Babelsberg, conducted by Helmut Imig.
The project – an initiative of the Kulturstiftung des Bundes – is being managed by the Stiftung Deutsche Kinemathek (project coordination: Anna Bohn). Enno Patalas is supervising the film’s reconstruction which is occurring with the support of the Bundesarchiv-Filmarchiv, Berlin, and the British Film Institute, London, and the Moskau Russian State Archive of Literature and Art (RGALI), Moscow.
December 29, 2004