Why did Eisenstein film the Odessa’s stairs from the top to the bottom? From a tactical point of view the soldiers got more results when attacking the people from downstairs; for the victims it is much more effort to run up the stairs, trying to escape. Did Eisenstein choose this because of the pram or to exaggerate the hierarchy of the bourgeoisie? Well, I don’t know the motivations, but the stairs are a very good filmset to show a conflict. The perspective of a stair gives you more opportunities to show what is happening, especially with big crowds.

Film as an art had just started. There were still lots of opportunities to explore and develop film languages. Eisenstein invented juxtaposing shots to get more meaning. He also used slow motion and close-up of emotions.

In the film one sees an alternation of shots of soldiers and revolting people. The soldiers are like disciplined machines: they walk in a straight line and shoot at the same moment. You don’t see their faces or emotions. The riot crowd is the opposite: people panic when the shooting starts. They try to escape running down the stairs. We see their emotions in closeups of their faces. This whole scene is accompanied with a dramatic score, which exaggerates the impact of the good and the bad.

There are also narrative layers in the scene itself. The little boy for example, who is nearly trapped by the panicking crowd until his mum notices and rescues him and then subsequently is shot by the soldiers. Or in the editing of the pram scene: the mum is shot, while the baby, still in the pram, rolls down the stairs. This is noticed by an old lady, but she gets shot before she can do anything. These are narrative structures within the scene itself.

As viewer we are longing for a good end but the end is terrible. We identify ourselves with the victims: children, women and the weak. This gives us a sense of humanity and moral. But consider as well you are the viewer, leaning back in your chair in the comfortable position of the observer making your conclusions.

Nowadays the stairs in Odessa are occupied by wandering tourists. Nothing is happening. People are going up and down the stairs and experience the surrounding and maybe the historical impact. The only protagonist and antagonist left is going up down the stairs. In my video I want to use this universal factor of tourism and the simple meaning of going up and down. In Amsterdam there is the big stairs of the science museum Nemo, with a good view over the city. It is a tourist attraction. My video is combining shots from the Amsterdam stairs and the Odessa stairs. I want to use similar editing techniques as Eisenstein. The video is meant as research, to see how these techniques work with registration shots of daily tourist life on the stairs.