Vsevolod PudovkinUSSR87 minutes1926B&WSilent
A work of immense pathos and aesthetic sophistication, Pudovkin's Mother is based on a famous novel by Maxim Gorky. The eponymous matriarch is torn between her husband and son when the two men take opposite sides in the class struggle, but after the father dies and her trade-union activist son is imprisoned on trumped-up charges, she takes up the revolutionary cause. Pudovkin considered editing to be the epitome of filmmaking, and in the final, powerfully poetic sequences — in which a prison break is visually rhymed with the shattering of ice on a river — he achieves the zenith of his art. "Pudovkin made some of the liveliest and most perversely moving films of all time, [using] his brilliance in the service of history as he saw it. History let him down, but his silent films — above all his 1926 masterpiece The Mother — live" (Jonathan Jones, The Guardian).
Print courtesy of the Cinémathèque québécoise.