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Sergei M. Eisenstein Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trade Mark (1) | Trivia (11) | Personal Quotes (1)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 23 January 1898Riga, Latvia, Russian Empire [now Latvia]
Date of Death 11 February 1948Moscow, Russian SFSR, USSR [now Russia]  (heart attack)
Birth NameSergei Mikhailovich Eizenshtein
Height 5' 7" (1.7 m)

Mini Bio (1)

The son of an affluent architect, Eisenstein attended the Institute of Civil Engineering in Petrograd as a young man. With the fall of the tsar in 1917, he worked as an engineer for the Red Army. In the following years, Eisenstein joined up with the Moscow Proletkult Theater as a set designer and then director. The Proletkult's director, Vsevolod Meyerhold, became a big influence on Eisenstein, introducing him to the concept of biomechanics, or conditioned spontaneity. Eisenstein furthered Meyerhold's theory with his own "montage of attractions"--a sequence of pictures whose total emotion effect is greater than the sum of its parts. He later theorized that this style of editing worked in a similar fashion to Marx's dialectic. Though Eisenstein wanted to make films for the common man, his intense use of symbolism and metaphor in what he called "intellectual montage" sometimes lost his audience. Though he made only seven films in his career, he and his theoretical writings demonstrated how film could move beyond its nineteenth-century predecessor--Victorian theatre-- to create abstract concepts with concrete images.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Michael Kaminsky <kaminsky@ucsee.eecs.berkeley.edu>

Spouse (1)

Pera Atasheva (27 October 1934 - 11 February 1948) (his death)

Trade Mark (1)

[Montage] Considered the father of the cinematic montage, he often used heavily edited sequences for emotional impact and historical propaganda (his most famous being the Odessa Steps sequence in Battleship Potemkin (1925) [Battleship Potemkin]).

Trivia (11)

On January 23, 1998, the Bank of Russia issued a pair of two-rouble coins commemorating the 100th anniversary of Eisenstein's birth. 15,000 of each coin were minted; the obverse side of each coin depicts a two-headed eagle, the BANK OF RUSSIA inscription, the denomination of the coin, and its year of minting. On the reverse of one coin is an image of Eisenstein holding a piece of film, the battleship Potemkin, as featured in Eisenstein's film, a reproduction of Eisenstein's signature, and the legend "SERGEI EISENSTEIN 1898-1948." The reverse of the other coin depicts Eisenstein with a curtain and a camera, and also bears his signature and the aforementioned legend along the rim.
Spoke fluent Japanese, and used the haiku as a model for his theories on montage.
He once praised Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) as the single greatest film ever made.
Was voted the 29th Greatest Director of all time by Entertainment Weekly. Eisenstein is the only Russian on the list.
Biography in: John Wakeman, editor. "World Film Directors, Volume One, 1890-1945". Pages 291-305. New York: The H.W. Wilson Company, 1987.
He was one of the founders of the world's oldest film school, VGIK in Moscow (opened 1 September 1919), and along with Lev Kuleshov, Vsevolod Pudovkin, Aleksandr Dovzhenko, Mikhail Romm, Eduard Tisse and Anatoli Golovnya, worked out the basic methods of professional training, which produced such well-known giants as Sergei Parajanov, and Andrei Tarkovsky, and the more obscure masters Mikhail Vartanov and Artavazd Peleshian.
Arrived in the United States in 1929, accompanied by Grigori Aleksandrov and Eduard Tisse. Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford had praised Eisenstein during a 1926 trip to Moscow, and after visiting Hollywood, he was given a contract by Paramount "to direct several films at the convenience of the contractee." His proposed projects, film adaptations of H.G. Wells' "War of the Worlds", Theodore Dreiser's "An American Tragedy" and "Gold" (a.k.a. "Sutter's Gold"), were rejected as being too socially conscious and not commercial enough to justify their length and expense. Paramount canceled the contract, and then on November 18, 1930, the State Department announced it was deporting Eisenstein and his companions because they were Communists.
Visited Germany and met with Fritz Lang during the filming of Metropolis (1927), on the The Pleasure Garden (1925) set. (1926).
His visit to Mexico with Diego Rivera and his exposure to its ancient culture also had a lasting impression on him, as reflected in his numerous pen-and-ink illustrations for which he was famous.
Was made head of the cinematographic section of the History and Art Institute at the Soviet Union Science Academy in June 1947.
"Montage Eisenstein: Theories of Representation and Difference," an analysis of Eisenstein's film theories, by Jacques Aumont was published in the US by University of Indiana Press in 1987.

Personal Quotes (1)

The hieroglyphic language of the cinema is capable of expressing any concept, any idea of class, any political or tactical slogan, without recourse to the help of a rather suspect dramatic or psychological past.

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