Politics, Propaganda and Film Form: Battleship Potemkin (1925) and Triumph of the Will (1935)
Rizvi, W. R. (2014, February 06). Politics, propaganda and film form: Battleship Potemkin (1925) and Triumph of the Will (1935). Journal of International Communication, 20(1), pp. 77-86. Taylor & Francis (Routledge).
Posted: 20 Jan 2020
Date Written: February 6, 2014
The study compares the German film Triumph of the Will (1935) with the Russian film Battleship Potemkin (1925) to evaluate the use of film form as a propaganda tool by two authoritarian regimes of the Second World between the two World Wars. The films play with specific fragments of truth through the national media and use the lyrical everyday imagery to give a realistic form to the world presented. They use strategies of appeal rooted in bias and states' will to propaganda and control of social memory and collective perception. Potemkin is clearly agitational, Triumph of the Will constructs and supports the national will and energy for being agitational through its surface character of tranquillity. Like with Potemkin, precise cinematic techniques, editing in particular is the most important aspect of Triumph of the Will. The dialectic in both the films alternates between dynamic shots and their reaction shots to look at human history and experience through repetitive thesis and antithesis pattern creating an overwhelming impact of the spectacles.
Keywords: World War II, Battleship Potemkin, Triumph of the Will, Hitler, WWII
JEL Classification: Z19
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation