Sergei Eisenstein

Eisenstein, Sergei Mikhailovich

Sergei Mikhailovich Eisenstein (syĬrgā´ mēkhī´ləvĬch ī´zənshtīn), 1898–1948, Russian film director. An architect and engineer, he became interested in a theatrical career and worked as a scene designer and stage director (1920). He began his film career in 1924 with Strike, followed by Potemkin (1925), which brought him world fame. Eisenstein developed a system of editing techniques, called montage, through which he made complex statements visually rather than through dialogue. His most famous sequences, the massacre on the Odessa steps in Potemkin and the rising of the drawbridge in October (1927), were composed of hundreds of shots edited according to his precise instructions. His only American project, Que Viva Mexico!, filmed in Mexico in 1930, was taken from his control and later edited by others. His Alexander Nevsky (1938) was an international success, but his projected trilogy Ivan the Terrible (1942–46) met with government disfavor. Part I was released in 1946, but Part II was withheld by the Soviet Film Trust until 1958. Eisenstein died before he could start Part III. He wrote The Film Sense (tr. 1942, rev. ed. 1947), The Film Form (tr. 1949), and Notes of a Film Director (tr. 1959).

See biographies by Y. Barna (1974) and R. Bergan (1999).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Sergei Eisenstein: Selected full-text books and articles

Eisenstein Rediscovered By Ian Christie; Richard Taylor Routledge, 1993
Ivan the Terrible, a Screenplay By Sergei Eisenstein; Ivor Montagu; Ivor Montagu; Herbert Marshall Simon & Schuster, 1962
A primary source is a work that is being studied, or that provides first-hand or direct evidence on a topic. Common types of primary sources include works of literature, historical documents, original philosophical writings, and religious texts.
Closely Watched Films: An Introduction to the Art of Narrative Film Technique By Marilyn Fabe University of California Press, 2004
Librarian's tip: Chap. 2 "The Art of Montage: Sergei Eisenstein's The Battleship Potemkin"
The Occult in Russian and Soviet Culture By Bernice Glatzer Rosenthal Cornell University Press, 1997
Librarian's tip: Chap. Twelve "Sergei Eisenstein's Gnostic Circle"
Classical Myth & Culture in the Cinema By Martin M. Winkler Oxford University Press, 2001
Librarian's tip: Chap. IX "Ancient Poetics and Eisenstein's Films"
Film Feminisms: Theory and Practice By Mary C. Gentile Greenwood Press, 1985
Librarian's tip: Chap. 2 "Reading Eisenstein"
Theories of Film By Andrew Tudor Viking Press, 1974
Librarian's tip: Chap. 2 "Eisenstein: Great Beginnings"
The Major Film Theories: An Introduction By J. Dudley Andrew Oxford University Press, 1976
Librarian's tip: Chap. 3 "Sergei Eisenstein"
Camera Obscura, Camera Lucida: Essays in Honor of Annette Michelson By Richard Allen; Malcolm Turvey Amsterdam University Press, 2003
Librarian's tip: "Eisenstein's Philosophy of Film" begins on p. 127
A History of Narrative Film By David A. Cook W.W. Norton, 1996 (3rd edition)
Librarian's tip: Discussion of Sergei Eisenstein begins on p. 140
The Oxford History of World Cinema By Geoffrey Nowell-Smith Oxford University Press, 1997
Librarian's tip: "Sergei Eisenstein (1898-1948)" begins on p. 168
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