The Fall of the Romanov Dynasty 1927

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Fall of the Romanov Dynasty (1927) is one of Shub’s most famous surviving films and what many film historians classify as the first compilation film or Soviet montage. … The film covers the years 1912 to 1917, recounting the moments before, after and during World War I, and then ending with the October Revolution

The Fall of the Romanov Dynasty (1927)
Director – Esfir Shub
Writer – Esfir Shub
Consultant – Mark Tseitlin
Production Co – Sovkino, The Museum of the Revolution

The Fall of the Romanov Dynasty (1927) – Soviet filmmaker Esfir Shub assembled this historical documentary about the greatest and at the same time the tragic events in the history of Russia of the early XX century, as the leadership of the Czar and the Russian aristocracy crumbles and Vladimir Lenin rises to power in the wake of the Russian Revolution. The film is completely edited from materials from the archives of Nicholas II, and pre-revolutionary newsreels from various archives. Using archival news footage, Esfir Shub pieces together a chronology of Russia, from 1913 to 1917. Through editing, Shub casts a critical, ironic light on the former czarist regime. Esfir Shub has created unprecedented in world cinema genre – Documentary-historical movie.

In May 1913 the Romanov Dynasty celebrates its 300th anniversary at the Russian throne. The last emperor in the long line is Czar Nicholas II. He rules over a country with huge social and economic differences. Russia is for the most part still an agrarian society, but capitalism and its industries are growing. In 1914 Russia gets involved in the First World War. Czar Nicholas II declares a general mobilization. A vast number of peasants and workers have to go to the front as soldiers. After three years the country is ruined by the war, and there is a shortage of provisions.
In February 1917 workers begin striking in the capital, Petrograd. Their protests are soon joined by soldiers. A complete anarchy is threatening the country, when the parliament, called the Duma, reorganizes the power structure by forming a new Provisional Government. At the same time the Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies forms another ruling body at the City Hall of Petrograd. In this situation czar Nicholas II sees no other possibility than to resign from his government. On the 4th of March 1917 he declares his abdication from the throne.
The new Provisional Government and its war minister Kerensky continue the war. This presents an opportunity for the Bolsheviks to organize demonstrations and to persuade the workers and soldiers to overthrow the Provisional Government and seize power themselves.
Written by Maths Jesperson (

Filmmaker and editor Esfir Shub’s debut work, composed entirely of pre-revolutionary newsreels and a number of film documents of the revolutionary events of 1917, was a milestone work of Soviet documentary cinema and can claim to be the first film in the world to be based on found footage. With the help of captions and sharp edits the director shows the terrible social stratification in Russia at the turn of the century and directs the viewer to the idea of the inevitability of revolution. The leading theorists of the age contrasted Shub’s approach with that of Dziga Vertov, saying that «she gave the opportunity to examine a subject, without depriving the event of its documentary value».
Written by Viktor Shklovsky

Author: Old Boy

Love the past and the future but live in the present