Storm over Asia (Potomok chingis-khana)

Storm over Asia

Avenge the white man’s blood!

Storm over Asia is a Russian film directed by Vsevolod Pudovkin about a man who, upon fighting with another man over the price of a fox pelt, flees into the mountains to avoid retribution. There, he is found by some enemy troops, and when they find a satchel among his possessions that seems to signify that he is the descendant of Genghis Khan, is parleyed into acting as a puppet leader before he finds the initiative inside himself to wrest control back into his own hands. I go this deep into the plot to help you understand just what is happening on screen, because otherwise, you might be a little lost.

The cinematography is very typical of silent pictures; somewhat stilted, but able to get the point across, with some occasional bright flashes of innovation. As per the usual Russian cinema, it features some spectacular editing, particularly when something big has happened and people on either sides are gearing up for whatever comes next. But, however, just because it is very well put together doesn’t mean that you’ll understand just what is going on, and again, this seems to be somewhat typical of Russian cinema. The intertitles are more for effect and pause than they are for telling the story currently on screen, which takes some getting used to, if able to at all.

In this, the Westerners are the bad guys, denoted as being those who “guard the interests of Capitalism”. This might easily offend some, but hey, I’m sure we’ve got qualities that can make us the bad guys if need be, especially coming from the viewpoint of a somewhat freshly Communist Russia. I was pleased with what I got out of this, but what I got out of this wasn’t very much. To reiterate an analogy I used before, the film has flashes of brilliance, when it seems like most other Soviet silents of its time, but most of the time it’s a run of the mill silent picture, albeit one that still has a Soviet mentality of filmmaking behind it, leaving it somewhat muddled and confusing. I’m not really too sure what to think of this one; you might have a much better time with it than I did.

Arbitrary Rating: 7/10

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