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The death of a friend, kindles the flames of a Strike!


January 24, 2022 by mcclainwa

In a perfect world death would never take us suddenly and so coldly. The death of Yakov Strongen, one of the few named workers in the film, Strike (Eisenstein, 1925), is a sharp twist of a cruel and uncarring work place. In his suicide note Yakov expresses how the bosses have labeled him as  a thief after he reports his own tools stolen. In this scene, immediately prior to his letter being displayed, we see his fellow workers cradling him. The workers are reminiscent of paintings in which soldiers or revolutionaries are holding fallen comrades as they die on the battle field, a fitting homage to Eisensteins main point of Revolution of the working class. The factories are their battlefields. What may be a coincidence, but I doubt it with Eisenstein, is the cross-handle of the machine perfectly overlooking Yakov as he is held. The handle in the shape of a cross and the line of sight leading to Yakov, like a martyr or saint basking in the light of the holy-cross. Another glaring theme in this still is the seperation of the workers, the many, and the elite and bosses, the few. If you look to the left corner the individual alone is the foreman of the factory and one of the individuals who labeled Yakov a thief. You can also see a ladder in the background cutting through the plane of the shot further seperating the boss from the group of workers. The boss later tries to tell the group to disperse, that there is nothing to see here further minimizing the life of a single worker. Though the workers are together one life is more than enough to bring fury, especially that of a friend and a comrade. The workers fight with the boss after this scene and the Strike begins.


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