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  • Sun 12 Nov
  • 95 minutes
  • Director: Sergei M. Eisenstein
  • Writer: Grigoriy Aleksandrov
  • Cast: Grigoriy Aleksandrov, Maksim Shtraukh, Mikhail Gomorov
  • Soviet Union (1925)


Eisenstein’s first full-length feature film portrays a strike in Tsarist Russia. In the harsh and secretive pre-revolutionary world, Bolsheviks agitate among the workers whilst police spies infiltrate their ranks as agent provocateurs. The strike is triggered by the suicide of a factory worker, falsely accused of theft by the manager. In the film, actors from the Proletkult Theatre perform alongside real-life Moscow factory workers in the crowd scenes. A milestone in cinema, Strike put Eisenstein’s pioneering montage theory into practice for the first time.  

Organised jointly with the London Socialist Film Co-op.

Tickets available at the door for £6/4 concessions, Children £3 for those with membership cards.


Spark: a festival of revolutionary film

Spark, the Russian Revolution Centenary Committee’s festival of revolutionary film, takes place at two of London’s most renowned independent cinemas: the Phoenix and the Rio. The festival takes its name from the Russian revolutionary newspaper Iskra (Spark). It features classics of early Soviet cinema by Vsevolod Pudovkin, Sergei Eisenstein, Dziga Vertov and Esfir Shub. Warren Beatty’s Reds will also be shown as a unique and daring Hollywood film about the Revolution, released at the height of the Cold War.

The role of film in the October Revolution

Film’s potential as a tool to explain and win support for the Revolution was recognised early on by young communist filmmakers. They transformed film into a powerful medium of communication, applying Marxist theory to cinema in innovative ways.

Eisenstein developed a theory of montage whereby images are juxtaposed, creating new meanings and stirring audience emotions. Rejecting dramatic fiction to document everyday experiences, Dziga Vertov directed the Kino Pravda newsreels, using special effects and experimental editing techniques. He accompanied the ‘agit-trains’ that journeyed across Russia to spread the ideas of the Bolshevik government. The trains carried projectors, showing films to the mostly illiterate peasantry.

Soviet cinema’s legacy

Soviet cinema has had a lasting impact internationally, influencing the theory and practice of film throughout the twentieth century and beyond. It has inspired filmmakers around the world including Orson Welles, the Italian Neo-Realists, Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock, Luis Buñuel, Jean-Luc Godard and Francis Ford Coppola.