Almost no one save Vladimir Putin and a few stubborn ex-Red Army generals laments the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the remnants of that vast failed experiment look more and more these days like items from Ripley's Believe It or Not. That may be the spirit in which to have another look at Strike, Sergei Eisenstein's 1924 film debut. The brilliant and innovative Soviet film pioneer was just 26 when he directed this depiction of the clash between workers and Czarist owners in a 1912 factory strike, and its fervor for a dictatorship of the proletariat now takes on an antique patina. For students and devotees of cinematic history, however, the film remains a treasure chest: We see the first deployments of Eistenstein's revolutionary editing techniques, his split-screen shots and his famous shock effects -- all used for political purpose. In essence, this 72-minute feature served as the sketch for Eisenstein's masterpiece, Battleship Potemkin, released in 1925.
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Strike will screen at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 10, as part of the Denver Art Museum's "Art of Silent Film" series at the Starz FilmCenter at the Tivoli, 900 Auraria Parkway. Also on the bill is Charles Chaplin's two-reel short Easy Street (1917). For information, call 720-913-0105.