Mother (Mat) was the first of Russian-filmmaker Vsevold Pudovkin's "personal epics"-films that weave spectacular historical tales while never losing sight of the individual, and individual emotions, that motivate those tales. Based on a Maxim Gorky story, Mother recreates the abortive Russian revolution of 1905. The title character, played by Vera Baranovkskaya, is the unwitting cause of the imprisonment of her political-activist son Nikolai Batalov. When her boy is killed in an escape attempt, she is awakened to the horrors of the Czarist regime, and picks up Batalov's political cudgel. She too, is killed while participating in a worker's protest. The sweep and scope of the action scenes in Mother never dwarf the human story. What sticks in the mind most vividly is the intimate scene in which Batalov, contemplating his upcoming release from prison, begins dreaming of his mother, while superimposed closeups of her face blend into lyrical shots of the Russian spring thaw. Mother was the first of Pudovkin's trilogy of Revolution-inspired silent masterpieces: the subsequent films were End of St. Petersburg and Storm over Asia.
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