Battleship Potemkin is considered to be one of the best films of all time and won an award at the Brussels World Fair in 1958. Sergei Eisenstein is a well-recognized Russian filmmaker who uses the Russian Formalist Perspective and creates unusual montages through his use of camera angles and unusual shots. As a silent film, all the drama must emanate from the music and action, and is supported by this clever use of film editing. The film is a powerful portrayal of the potential for disaster and has a strong element of propaganda, supporting the revolution.
Eisenstein's intention is to encourage an emotional response so overpowering that the audience understands whom to support and feel sympathy for. His techniques are simple as this is the best way to share his message. The mutinous crew who are threatened with execution because they rebel against the appalling conditions and particularly the food they are forced to eat capture the audience's attention and the intensity of the music allows the audience to almost participate in this affront to human decency. To ensure that the film remains dynamic and relevant to all audiences, Eisenstein instructed that the musical score should be rewritten every twenty years or so.
Rhythmic relationships are very important and the tempo is set through the use of shots. The pace quickens or is slowed depending on the length of any series of shots and the music or sound that is used to complement the situation and increase tension. There is a presence that is felt as the sound of the soldiers' marching is repeated in various scenes and the apparent automatic response of the soldiers is assumed. The audience is directed in a certain way so as to lead to the same conclusion. The woman carrying her son contrasts sharply with the chaos that surrounds her as people rush in all directions. Still there is the rhythmic sound of the soldiers marching. The tempo moves between the slow and somber pace required to reflect the mother's anguish and the frenzy of the other people on The Odessa Steps.
The music then is used to great effect to draw the audience in and to ensure the audience leaves exhausted and yet determined to make a difference.