Mazower’s Dark Continent compared to Eisenstein’s October

                                                               Martin Zahariev

Throughout the human history there were revolutions which affected the political climate, brought progress and changes- positive, and negative. One of the most important of them, which broke out in the 20th century was the October revolution. The movie October: Ten Days That Shook the World (1928) by Sergei Eisenstein, and the Mark Mazower’s Dark Continent: Europe’s Twentieth Century present this event in two different ways.

                The first one is a Russian propaganda movie created by Eisenstein for a specific audience- the people from the Soviet Union. Its focus is narrow-the struggle of the poor, and the oppressed against the Provisional Government. In the beginning of the movie we see the destruction of the statue of Alexander III. It is clear that Russians want change, wish to be treated like people, to change their lifestyles, to get out of the misery. However are they really fighting for the creation of the Soviet Union? Eisenstein tries to convince his audience in that false direction. The movie is like a twisted reality of the events of 1917. It is obvious that the author omits certain events, and facts. His purpose is clear- to make people believe in the greatness of the newly established political regime.

                Mazower’s book Dark Continent: Europe’s Twentieth Century is not a propaganda work, but a detailed, objective and deep analysis of the events that led to the Bolsheviks coming to power. Unlike Eisenstein his focus is not narrowed, and his purpose is to depict the real events rather than manipulate his readers. He tells us how Lenin managed to gain his power, thanks to his political acuteness, and to the blunders his political rivals made. The author does not express any political preferences.

                Mazower’s book Dark Continent: Europe’s Twentieth Century and Eisenstein’s movie October,  created with different purposes, clearly look at the Russian Revolution under two different angles.

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