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.
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