Architect movie. As Sergei Eisenstein was ahead of his time

Architect movie. As Sergei Eisenstein was ahead of his time

Monday, January 22, marks 120 years since the birth of Sergei Eisenstein. Most of those who know the film only by the film “Battleship “Potemkin” and “Alexander Nevsky”, considers him a singer of the socialist way of life, favored by the Soviet government. In fact, this is absolutely not true. First, with the power he had a very complicated relationship. And secondly, it was a man on a world scale, standing in one row with the most famous artists of his time, and accept them as equals. Great master, one of the creators of modern cinema.

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Eisenstein it is impossible to measure today. He was filming a movie not according to the canons and textbooks, he created these canons and wrote textbooks. He was a pioneer, defining the ways of development of world cinema for years to come. But he was an ordinary man who lived in a terrible and cruel time. And was forced to adapt to circumstances. He narrowly escaped arrest in the 1930s, and thanks for this he needs only his talent and international fame. He was a step away from the dungeons and at the end of the 1940s, when the loop was literally dragged on his neck, and only his sudden death saved him from prison. He lived only half a century, but managed to do so much that it’s hard to believe that his path was so short.

Poor Rorik

We all come from childhood. And for the artist, receiving the given circumstances, the world of childhood is particularly important. The early years of the Eisenstein was, on the one hand, prosperous, on the other — emotionally complicated and painful. And many of its complexes are rooted in childhood experiences.

Here is what he wrote in his “Autobiography”:

Can not boast of origin. The father is not working. A mother from a working class family. Father architect and engineer. Intellectual. Its really hard-made it to the people who got ranks. Grandfather on my mother’s side though, and came barefoot to Peter, but no work went on, and prefer the company of barges drove and made a deal. Died. Grandma — “Vassa Zheleznova”. And I grew up comfortably and in abundance. This had its positive side: a study in the perfection of languages and humanitarian experience from his youth. As it was necessary and useful not only for themselves, but is now very conscious and for others!

The father of the future Director was the famous Riga architect, the most popular and successful in the city. A few dozen he built tenement houses in the art Nouveau style and now make up the architectural pride of the capital of Latvia. Mikhail Osipovich came from a Jewish merchant family, and shortly before the revolution, in accordance with the rank of state Councilor (equivalent to General in the army or Admiral in the Navy) received hereditary nobility, which, of course, extended to his only son, Sergei. So technically he was from the nobility, though the son of a convert.

Sergey grew in abundance, but not in the idyll. The head of the family was distinguished for the power and tough; perhaps we could call it the home despot. The relationship with his wife, Mikhail Osipovich did not work out, and she quickly fell back to Petersburg.

Ten years Rorik, as they called the son of the family, remained with his father, mother, and grandmother were visiting for the holidays. The father provided the son an excellent education — three foreign languages, horse riding, painting, piano, travel to Europe, etc. But tenderness and love to the boy is clearly not enough, it is no coincidence that the letters to his mother he was signed by “your kitten”. He did not have and opportunity to choose a way of life — the father firmly insisted that the heir to follow in his footsteps. So, after graduating from the Riga craft school, Sergey was in the Central Institute of civil engineers.

In the spring of 1917, nineteen-year-old student was drafted into the army and was in the school of engineering ensigns. But there was a revolution, and a school simply collapsed. Sergei was at the center of historical events, however, politics wasn’t a lot more he was drawn to the theatre. In 1918, Eisenstein joined the Red army, which was more practical than ideological. Otherwise, a hungry Peter to survive was almost impossible, and the family (father from Riga, he emigrated to Berlin, and his mother and grandmother remained in the capital) status of relatives of a soldier of the red army was supposed to help. To really fight Sergei was not necessary: he served in the campaign train, where he painted decorations (it’s hereditary — it since the childhood perfectly painted) and participated in the theatrical and political performances on the topic of the day. He had plenty of free time and a lot of books, learning which Sergey was doing. And he kept a diary in which she recorded her thoughts on ways to develop a new revolutionary theater.

The avant-garde. School master

At the end of the Civil Eisenstein was in Moscow. Formally he was going to enter the Military Academy of the red army at the translation faculty (in the army, he became interested in the Japanese language), but he was in the State higher directing workshops (GVYRM), which was headed by Vsevolod Meyerhold. At the same time Sergey got a job as a painter-decorator in the troupe of the First workers ‘ theatre of Proletkult. He lived at his childhood friend Maxim Strauch on Clean ponds. Before the revolution the family of a respectable doctor belonged to the whole apartment, but after they left only one room. Nevertheless, the family Strahov (and Boris was already married!) took Sergei, and he fenced off a curtain angle.

Soon I got acquainted with Grigory Alexandrov, and under very curious circumstances. In those lean years the actors of the theater brought food with him, and Alexandrov tried to eat a “stockpile” of Eisenstein. A fight broke out, young people with difficulty carried off. After this, Alexandrov said that two days did not eat, and I divided my rations in half. Since then, they became friends.

Our troupe consisted of young workers seeking to create true art, making a new temperament, a new view of the world and art. Their artistic views and demands, then fully coincide with mine, although I, belonging to another class, came to the same conclusions that they do, purely speculative way. The following years were full of bitter struggle. In 1922, I became the sole Director of the First Moscow workers ‘ theatre and completely disagreed with the leaders of the proletcult. Proletkultists was close to the point of view followed by an example: they stood for the old tradition, was inclined to compromise when the question was raised about the effectiveness of the pre-revolutionary art. I was one of the most uncompromising advocates of the Lef — the Left front demanding the new art corresponding to new social conditions. On our side then were all the youth among us was the innovators of Meyerhold and Mayakovsky; against us was a traditionalist Stanislavsky and Tairov opportunist.Sergei Eisenstein article “Eisenstein about Sergei Eisenstein, the Director of the film “Battleship “Potemkin”

Meyerhold was an absolute idol for Eisenstein, teacher and inspirer. In 1922 Sergei Mikhailovich staged “the Death of Tarelkin”, where Vsevolod emilyevich played one of the roles. And soon I received a note written by the wife of Meyerhold, Zinaida Reich on a piece of paper torn from the playbill: “Seryozha! When Meyerhold felt like an independent artist, he left Stanislavsky”. Of course, it was written with the knowledge, and may be requested by the master. I reacted sharply to this: “For me, I was the theater.” Since then, he left the theater and went to new case — cinema.

By the way, love and respect to the teacher, I carried through my whole life, and when in 1939, Meyerhold was arrested and Zinaida Reich under mysterious circumstances, died, that Sergei Mikhailovich saved the archive wizard, secretly brought him from the deserted garden of the great actor. In those days it was heroic.

Perhaps, the main mystery of the film is how he managed in just a few years to go from rookie to Director of world level. This can be partly explained by the fact that by this time he already had a certain image of the new movie, based on the connection (mounting) shock (rides), including elements of theatre, circus, pop, poster and journalism.

He phrased it in 1923 in the article “Montage of attractions”, published in the journal of Vladimir Mayakovsky “LEF” (Left front of arts). And in 1924, Eisenstein directed his first feature film “Strike”, immediately declared him as a unique Director with an entirely new vision of the movie. He was released in April 1925. And almost immediately I was commissioned to film the tenth anniversary of the first Russian revolution and in record time (about three months) filming “Battleship “Potemkin”, which became, perhaps, the apogee of the development of the whole silent black and white movie. Later, he again called “the best film of all times and peoples”.

Eisenstein, who was only 27 years old, suddenly becomes famous. House Committee even decides to provide him a separate room in a communal apartment, “making voluntary resettlement”. Approaching a decade of the 1917 revolution, and the team Eisenstein received an order for epic, devoted to the October events. So, in 1927, the film “October”. The first picture, which will appear on the screen leader of the world proletariat Vladimir Ulyanov-Lenin.

The Method Of Eisenstein

By this time, we can talk about the team Eisenstein. First of all it is Grigory Alexandrov, with whom they wrote the first films, and Eduard Tisse — permanent operator of all of master paintings. They also acted as actors and Maxim Strauch and his wife Judith Glizer, Alexander Antonov (the sailor Vakulenchuk the “Potemkin”), Michael Gomorov and other former members of the Proletkult theater. They were all the same age, all obsessed with new avant-garde ideas.

The big “stars” of the classical theatrical stage, but deliberately were not invited, this was one of his principles. He started to remove large masses of people, and the main character was the people, typical characters, but not recognizable “stars”. Even Lenin in “October” played a simple worker of metallurgical plant of the city of Petrozavodsk Vasily Nikandrov, only superficially resembled the leader of the revolution.

I was looking for new forms in all things. The angles of shooting, the alternation of the plans, installation, hard shots of the audience, which he sought to shake emotionally. He strongly mixed styles, used the techniques from different genres, even trick photography and special effects. He wasn’t going to make a realistic historical film, and created artwork that was to produce in the viewer a profound emotional experience. Therefore, it is absurd to blame him for the fact that in order to enhance the viewer’s perception can often distort actual events.

Another thing is that the Winter storm (which was not) he took so convincingly that many people take it for documentary footage. During the download an error has occurred.

Just like the brilliant scene of the shooting on the Potemkin stairs in Odessa. And for the filming of “Strike” to the factory were invited a great speaker, Leon Trotsky, and the Director for the film was shot in a real rally, although Trotsky did not know.

Eisenstein wrote about his method or, as he put it, about the architecture of the movie in the article “Eisenstein about Sergei Eisenstein…”: “My artistic principle was, and still is not intuitive creativity, and the rational, the structural arrangement of the acting elements; the impact must be analyzed and calculated in advance, is the most important. Whether the individual elements of the impact to be in the story in the conventional sense of the word or they will be threaded on the “plot skeleton” in my “Battleship”, I don’t see a significant difference. I am not sentimental, not bloodthirsty, not particularly lyrical, what I criticized in Germany. But all this I, of course, well known, and I know that you only need enough to skillfully use all these elements in order to initiate the desired reaction from the viewer and achieve huge tension. I’m sure it’s purely a mathematical problem and that “revelation of creative genius” shouldn’t be here. It requires no more mental alertness than in the design of the utilitarian reinforced concrete structures”.

The American film Academy recognized “the Battleship Potemkin the best film of 1926 and at the Paris exhibition of arts, he received the highest award — “Super Grand Prix”. In 1928 Eisenstein, Tisse and Alexandrov travel to Berlin to present the world famous “Battleship”, and then to Hollywood to learn the new technique of sound and color film. A knowledge of languages Eisenstein lectured in London and Cambridge, Antwerp and Hamburg, Paris and Amsterdam. He enthusiastically accepted, he met with the brightest people of the era. George Bernard Shaw, James Joyce, with whom he agreed about the film adaptation of “Ulisses”, ASTA Nielsen, Fyodor Chaliapin, Mikhail Chekhov. In America it took Walt Disney and Charlie Chaplin. She managed to sign with the Studio “paramount” contract for the film adaptation of “an American tragedy” by Theodore Dreiser, but prevented the crisis. Then the trio went to Mexico, where the money Upton Sinclair begins to make a film “Viva Mexico!”.

Only in 1979 purchased from the Soviet state film Fund of material it will finally mount Alexander, moreover, in the embodiment close to the original intent. In Mexico they met with Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. In 1931, Eisenstein was awarded the Stalin’s telegram with an urgent request to return home and did not dare to disobey. Too many “hostages” remained in the Soviet Union, and could not imagine himself without Russian cinema.

Step away from the horror

I began teaching directing at VGIK and write. In the 1930s this was its main occupation. But the movies he was not walking — they are not embedded in the changed ideology. While I was absent, to replace the revolutionary avant-garde of the 1920s came a new stylistic direction of social realism. In 1930 killed a leader of the avant-garde Mayakovsky, in the same year, was arrested Kazimir Malevich and closed to unite the architects of the avant-garde Association of architects. Classic avant-garde cinema of Eisenstein appeared in the rear of new trends.

First off the car started before the trip to Europe silent film “Old and new”. In the mid-1930s, Eisenstein was trying to remove the “Bezhin meadow” on the collectivization and the tragic interpretation of the story of Pavlik Morozov, but censorship did not miss it. The Director tried along with Isaac Babel to remake the scenario, but the General Directorate of cinematography still banned the film. The captured images were washed away. She had to publicly repent for writing a derogatory article, “Error “Bezhina grasslands”. Eisenstein was suspended from teaching, the clouds above him darkened.

Saved the Director, the Alexander Nevsky, released in 1938. Sergei Mikhailovich was not ready, as Aleksandrov and Pyryev, to remove life-affirming Comedy and serious dramatic films by censorship. The genre of historical and Patriotic films were more neutral and generally fall under the canons of socialist realism. By this time, I have seriously changed their “method” that was quite logical, because “Nevsky” is a movie with sound. The Director already did not need to deliberately emotional picture, a lot can be put into words and intonations of the actors. Hence the appearance in the movie, a scattering of “stars”, headed by Nikolai Cherkasov. The film was well accepted, he received the order of Lenin and the Stalin prize. Apparently, this saved the woman, and went through a terrible fate of Meyerhold, Babel, and many of his friends and associates.

With the beginning of the war, I was actively involved in fundraising for the front, the benefit of his name was well known in the West. In July 1941, he spoke on the radio a speech “To the brothers of Jews around the world”, which in English asking for financial assistance. There were times in the Newspapers, filming propaganda films, participated in the Jewish anti-fascist Committee Solomon Mikhoels and other prominent figures of art and science. Prepared “Ivan the terrible”.

The film was shot in Alma-ATA, and two of the series. First released in 1944, the second one the censors missed. Eisenstein deliberately removed so that the text of the script (which initially claimed censorship) did not match the visuals that he in the second series succeeded brilliantly. The Genesis of the tragedy is endowed with the uncontrolled power of the man in it was shown with remarkable force. It is no coincidence that on the screen the tape was released only in 1958, ten years after the Director’s death and five years after Stalin’s death, which was addressed to the film. This movie showed the world a new son. And then, in February 1947, the Director was subjected to severe criticism at a personal meeting with Stalin, Molotov and Zhdanov at the Kremlin. Everyone knew what it meant.

In January 1948, was brutally murdered Solomon Mikhoels. On secret order of Stalin. “I’m next”, and excitedly talked at his funeral, but his old friend Maxim Strauch. Considering what fate was destined the other members of the Jewish antifascist Committee, apparently, so it would have happened. But his son had a sick heart, by this time he already had a heart attack.

And it could not stand the terrible stresses: February 11, without having lived months after their fiftieth anniversary, Sergei Eisenstein died in his apartment of a heart attack.

He was not favored by the government. Rather, the contrary. Eisenstein did not betray the romantic philosophy of the avant-garde for socialist realism, and tried even within impose style to find your new path. Therefore, he did not hold high positions, and have not received a rank “national”, and took very little — in fact, five big films in the quarter of a century of active work in the movie. Of these, only two with sound. Or three, if you count the second series of “Ivan the terrible” as a separate film.

It mostly remained an innovator and theorist, and in this guise entered the world of cinema. While his contribution is enormous and artistic heritage to not fully comprehended to this day. However, such is the fate of many artists ahead of time.