Mother/ Mat

Mother/ Mat

Director : Vsevolod Pudovkin /  Soviet Union / 89 / No Dialogue / 1926

Pudovkin’s most famous film, Mother is set during the 1905 Russian Revolution. The film tells the story of a mother who has spent years under abuse from her husband. When her son is jailed for revolutionary activities and her husband is killed while trying to suppress a worker’s strike, the mother rises in support of her son and leads a march against the Tsarist forces. Like many montage films set during the pre-1917 Revolution years, Mother ends in tragedy when the revolution fails and both mother and son are killed.

Pudovkin employs a form of montage in this film that differs from that seen in Eisenstein’s films. Rather than producing shocks and jolts, the editing in Mother is much more fluid and logical. Furthermore, Pudovkin focuses on the psychological development of his characters much more than Eisenstein does. Furthermore, he employs many shots of the natural world in his montage compositions, most famously in the combination of a river rushing with thawing ice along with shots of the mother leading the revolutionary march. The film is also noteworthy for considering the place of women in the revolution and in the new socialist society.

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