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Dnevnik Glumova (1923)

| Short
Filmic insert to Eisenstein's modernized, free adaptation of Ostrovskiy's 19th-century Russian stage play, "The Wise Man" ("Na vsyakogo mudretsa dovolno prostoty"). The anti-hero Glumov ... See full summary »


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Credited cast:
Glumov 2, Golutvin
Aleksandr Antonov ...
Himself (takes bow at end)
Mikhail Gomorov ...
Junior Inkizhinov ...
Small child
Vera Muzykant ...
Mashenka, Mary McLack
Ivan Pyryev ...
Fascist clown
Maksim Shtraukh ...
Vera Yanukova ...
Ivan Yazykanov ...
Glumov 1


Filmic insert to Eisenstein's modernized, free adaptation of Ostrovskiy's 19th-century Russian stage play, "The Wise Man" ("Na vsyakogo mudretsa dovolno prostoty"). The anti-hero Glumov tries to escape exposure in the midst of acrobatics, derring-do, and farcical clowning. Several members of Eisenstein's troupe at the legendary "Proletkult" stage theatre in Moscow briefly appear in this little film. Written by Steven P Hill, University of Illinois.

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Also Known As:

Glumov's Diary  »

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1.33 : 1
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Directorial debut of Sergei M. Eisenstein. See more »

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User Reviews

Within this film… hidden somewhere deep inside… is the promise of future genius
1 April 2008 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

It's difficult to know what to make of this film. 'Dnevnik Glumova / Glumov's Diary (1923),' a loosely-plotted five minute short film, was the debut directorial effort of Sergei M. Eisenstein, who would go on to become one of the most influential filmmakers of all-time, his most well-known works including the magnificent 'The Battleship Potemkin (1925)' and 'Ivan the Terrible (1944).' It was 'Stachka / Strike (1925),' a Soviet propaganda piece, that first brought Eisenstein recognition, but it's certainly interesting to observe his single earlier effort, and one can begin to detect a keen interest in exploring innovative editing techniques – namely, his pioneering use of the montage. Believed lost for decades, 'Glumov's Diary' was later discovered in a 1923 newsreel composed by Dziga Vertov {who is best known for his revolutionary documentary 'The Man with a Movie Camera (1929)'}.

Eisenstein's film is based on Alexandr Ostrovsky's nineteenth century stage-play, "The Wise Man." However, I found it hard to even discern an actual plot within the seemingly-random montage of silly-looking clowns and morphing human figures. The short film {which, I presume, may have been altered from its original form when Vertov compiled it into his newsreel} opens with profiles of the story's main characters, each fading into screen from nothing, or otherwise just making a childish face at the camera. From here, a man attempts to retrieve a top hat from the roof of a building, before he crash-lands into a passing vehicle and somehow cues a rather bewildering montage of acrobats transforming into babies, machinery and donkeys. Not being familiar with Ostrovsky's source material, I was simply unable to decipher the plot beyond this level, though I'm sure that there's a deeper allegorical subtext that I'm not capable of grasping.

Of course, viewed as a historical document, 'Glumov's Diary' is a relatively important piece of cinema, as it signposts a new era in film-making innovation. The montage, which Eisenstein described as "the nerve of cinema," may seem commonplace nowadays, but it was the director's accomplished use of the technique that opened to cinema a new realm of editing possibilities. "Each sequential element," Eisenstein noted further, "is perceived not next to the other, but on top of the other." Even in this film, in the absence of any easily-discernible plot, the director's intelligent use of editing – cutting sequentially from one surreal moment to the next – conveys a sense of rhythm that really holds the film together as a whole. There is nothing revolutionary about the cross-fades which facilitate the acrobat's transformation into a series of animate and inanimate objects, but the effect works quite well.

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