Monday, October 06, 2008

Alexander Nevsky (1938): Netflixin 10/5/08

  • Why I rented it: Propaganda = fun.

  • Verdict: 6/10. As propaganda is specific to time and place, this would have had more of the soul-stirring effect it was meant to have if I were a Happy Soviet Proletariatian from the pre-WWII era. Being that I'm not doesn't mean that it doesn't have standalone artistic merit, though. The cinematography often looks like propaganda posters brought to life...heroes gazing gloriously into the distance, gigantic armies massing on windswept plains. But good propaganda not only romanticizes the heroes, it demonizes the enemy. Here we have the invading German soldiers, helmeted and anonymous, controlled by a group of knights with a case of permanent lockjaw and eye squint and a couple of downright creepy vulture-looking priests. A good portion of their non-warring time is spent robed, holding crosses aloft, and listening to sinister organ music. So you get double the Kopeks for your propaganda Ruble: not only are the Germans bad, but so is their scary Christianity. Then to top it all off you can play "Spot the Revisionist History" in the allegory of Stalin = Nevsky and the Germans = well, some things never change.

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