Sergei Eisenstein was born in 1898 and died, at the age of 50, 63 years ago last week. By the age of 30 he was world-renowned for his theory of montage, as applied to his youthful masterpieces Strike, Battleship Potemkin, and October (Ten Days That Shook the World). These films found heroics in collectives (among workers, sailors, or, in the case of his 1929 Old and New, farmers) and in stick-figure commemoration of the Bolshevik Revolutionaries. In 1930, he was invited to come to Hollywood by Paramount Pictures, and during his time there he pursued several aborted projects, including a film version of Theodore Dreiser’s An American Tragedy (which was finally made in 1931 by Josef von Sternberg, vacationing from Marlene Dietrich). To delay returning to Russia, Eisenstein persuaded Upton Sinclair and his wife to finance the intended epic Que Viva Mexico! Read more
Posts tagged ‘Sergei Eisenstein’
These notes accompany the Vsevolod I. Pudovkin program, screening April 28, 29, and 30 in Theater 3.
Vsevolod Illarionovitch Pudovkin (1893–1953) was, like Sergei Eisenstein, a pupil of Lev Kuleshov (1899–1970), and all three of them were heavily influenced by the work of D. W. Griffith, particularly his mastery of editing. All three also wrote copiously on film theory, finding intellectual justification for the choices they made in creating their movies. Few American filmmakers made much effort to convey their thought processes, and most seemed happy to leave the impression that their work was largely intuitive. When Peter Bogdanovich asked John Ford how he did a particular shot, Ford replied soberly, “With a camera.” Read more
These notes accompany the Eisenstein Double Bill program, which screens on March 3, 4, and 5 in Theater 3.
Sergei Eisenstein (1898–1948) is a special case in many ways. He was undeniably one of the geniuses of the early cinema. As a theoretician, he wrote voluminously, positing his theory of montage (editing), derived from the work of D. W. Griffith (most notably from Intolerance). Eisenstein’s theory, which directly contradicted the German Expressionist approach most successfully promulgated by F. W. Murnau, was enormously influential on countless directors, although it did not always produce satisfactory results. Read more