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Eisenstein, Sergei (1898–1948)


Subject Literature

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405168908.2010.x


One of the greatest film directors of all times, a pioneer of the Russian revolutionary cinema, whose film Battleship Potemkin has been honored as the greatest film ever made. However, almost from the very beginning of his career, Eisenstein was criticized by official Soviet critics for the excessive intellectualism of his films, especially The Ten Days That Shook the World (1928) and The Old and the New (1929). In the early 1930s Eisenstein took an extensive trip to Europe and America, entertaining a thought of staying in the West. After an unsuccessful attempt at making the movie Que Viva Mexico and problems with Hollywood producers, Eisenstein was forced to return to the Soviet Union, where he experienced several disciplinary setbacks, the most publicized of which was the shelving of his film Bezhin Meadow (1935) because of its pronounced religious symbolism. During the prewar years and the entire 1939–45 war, Eisenstein finally achieved official recognition and silenced his critics. He produced a patriotic film AlexanderNevsky (1938) as a warning to Nazi Germany, and the first part of the unfinished trilogy Ivan the Terrible (1945). Alexander Nevsky was Eisenstein's first sound film. In it he experimented with the principles of “vertical montage,” which meant the correlation between visual imagery and sound (the score for the film was written by A. Prokofiev). ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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