Sergei Eisenstein and his legendary films

Sergei Eisenstein - Soviet cinematographer, creator of the film "The Battleship Potemkin". " He has about thirty films and scripts. In addition, Sergei Eisenstein made a significant contribution to the theory of cinematographic art. Biography and creative direction of the topic of the article.

Sergey Eisenstein

early years

Sergei Mikhailovich Eisenstein was born in Riga in 1898. His mother came from a rich merchant family. Father worked all his life as an architect. The future director received a good education, as was expected of a young man from a wealthy intelligent family. Sergey's childhood was cloudless. However, in the early years there were reasons for sadness: the boy's parents were busy all the time and paid little attention to him.

Yulia Ivanovna - the mother of the legend of the Soviet cinema - had a good dowry. That is why the Eisenstein family lived prosperously. The house had a staff of servants. Invitations were often held at which important Riga officials were present.In 1907, after the revolutionary events, the Eisensteins left their homeland. For several years, the future director lived in Paris.

After returning from France, Sergei Eisenstein entered a real school. In addition, he was engaged in playing the piano and horse riding. He also studied several foreign languages ​​and in his youth he was seriously interested in photo art and drawing. Twice a year, Sergey visited his relative, who lives in St. Petersburg.

Eisenstein was fourteen years old when his parents divorced. The teenager lived with his father, but the connection with his mother remained extremely strong. Eisenstein Sr. dreamed that his son would become a famous architect. And he, in fact, entered the Petrograd Institute of Civil Engineers in 1915, where he also had a faculty graduating specialists in the field of designing urban buildings. Subsequently, he became famous. But as you know, not as an architect, but in the role of a man who stood at the origins of Soviet cinema.

Sergey Eisenstein autobiography


In the post-revolutionary years, Sergei Eisenstein, like many of his compatriots, was in distress. He lived in Petersburg, lost contact with relatives.Nevertheless, it was precisely in these difficult years that the creator of the Battleship Potemkin seriously became interested in art. It all started with the architecture of theaters. But the war, of course, slowed down the process of its development in the field of theatrical and, at that time only the nascent, cinematic art.

Eisenstein enrolled in the police headquarters, organized by the Institute of Civil Engineers. In the spring of 1917 he was called up for service. A few months later, the future director was, among other Red Army men, not far from Red Selo, awaiting an offensive by the Cossacks, which, however, did not happen.

For about two years, Sergei Mikhailovich Eisenstein traveled as a part of the train. He visited Polotsk, Minsk, Smolensk. All this time, Eisenstein carried with him a lot of literature and continuously kept a diary in which he reflected his impressions of important historical events.

Eisenstein Sergey Mikhailovich

Theater and cinema

In 1920, Eisenstein became interested in learning Japanese. He went to Moscow, where he intended to become a military translator. However, plans changed, and the future director entered the service in one of the metropolitan theaters as a decorator. Revolutionary trends touched and art.Eisenstein's worldview was shaped by the influence of historical events. He became one of those who supported the idea of ​​"revolutionizing" the theater.

In 1921, Eisenstein became a student of Meyerhold. The hero of this article enrolled in courses taught by the famous Russian director. Eisenstein combined his studies with work in Proletkult. He worked on such productions as "Mexican", "For every sage quite simplicity." And if at the beginning of the creative way the young decorator was involved as an assistant, then over time he became the leading director of the theater.

The beginning of a film career began with the work on the film “Doctor Mabuse, Player”. Eisenstein re-edited this picture, which was a common practice before the advent of silent films. In 1925, the film “Strike” was released, containing innovative elements for that time. Then work began on a series of paintings devoted to revolutionary events. Among them: "October", "1905", "Underground".

The experience of foreign filmmakers

In the late twenties, Sergei Eisenstein, whose films had become famous in the Soviet Union by then, went abroad to learn as much as possible about the art of sound cinema.But the authorities sent the director and his other colleagues abroad not only to gain Western experience. Famous Soviet film figures were introduced to the capitalist world. Eisenstein traveled throughout Europe for two years, gave lectures in a number of German cities.

In 1932, the Soviet cinematographer returned to his homeland and engaged in teaching and research activities. He wrote several works on the theory of direction. The first significant picture was released in 1935. It is worth listing the most famous films that created Sergei Eisenstein.

sergey eisenstein biography


  1. "Bezhin meadow".
  2. "Alexander Nevskiy".
  3. "Ivan the Terrible".
  4. "Battleship" Potemkin "".

Sergei Eisenstein shot the film "Bezhin Meadow" in 1935. Criticism took the picture very harshly. After viewing the draft version, officials of the Office of Cinematography suspended further filming. Before the completion of the work had very little time. Thus, the film was lost, but restored a few years later by director Yutkevich.

"Bezhin meadow"

According to modern critics, this film could become a talented, outstanding work of the national cinema. In addition, Bezhin Meadow had every chance to acquire a rare historical value.Could be, but this did not happen, because the production of the picture was suspended due to "the complexity of the artistic language and formalism."

Miraculously preserved footage, but not mounted material. During the war at Mosfilm there was a fire, as a result of which the film was lost. A film that was partially restored by director Sergei Yutkevich and historian Naum Kleiman has reached our days. What is the story about the painting "Bezhin Meadow"?

The film is about collectivization. At the heart of the plot is the story of the famous Pavlik Morozov, who made a “noble” denunciation of his close relatives, for which he was killed. From the Ural village action transferred to the Oryol region. The film script was written by Alexander Rzheshevsky. His creation did not like Eisenstein. Throughout the work on the film there was no agreement and understanding between the screenwriter and the director. Eisenstein refused to use pictures of Turgenev places in the shooting. The director said he was able to find something more ambitious. In addition, Pavlik Morozov was killed in the Ural region.

the legendary film by sergei eisenstein

Rzheshevsky accused Eisenstein of not wanting to understand his plan, as well as of being addicted to excessive illustrativeness.The writer, in turn, refused to go to the shooting, and later said that even during the initial viewing, he realized that the film would fail.

Shooting lasted more than two years. According to the director’s memoirs, he did not have just ten days to complete the work. A public screening took place at the Head Office of Cinematography. After viewing the speakers spoke about underestimating the role of class struggle in the country. The production of the film was stopped. First of all, they demanded to remake the script.

A friend of the director, writer Isaac Babel took up this work. However, its refinement did not save the film. This time the film was recognized as anti-art and “politically erroneous.” Some pieces of work were kept for many years by the director’s widow. The last copy was burned in 1941, during the bombing.

The plot of the film "Bezhin Meadow" uncomplicated. Fist hammered his wife to death, and then with his friends carried out sabotage. Namely - set fire to a warehouse in which fuel was stored for tractors. After committing the crime of criminals hiding in the church. However, they were soon found and detained. In the meantime, the positive heroes of this story turned the church into a club.What did not like the film, which has such propaganda motives, to Stalin? Joseph Vissarionovich believed that the movie has no equal in strength of influence on the minds of the masses. Perhaps in this work, Eisenstein did not meet his expectations.

director Sergei Eisenstein

The fact is that in the film “Bezhin Meadow” the director touched upon the topic of collectivization, but did so in extremely tragic colors. Perhaps Eisenstein really tried to create an exclusively propaganda film. But perhaps, the director used the material that was imposed on him from above, for his aesthetic experiments, trying to create a classic plot of “Fathers and Children” on the actual example of the class struggle in those years.

Sergei Eisenstein, according to eyewitnesses, deeply worried about the destruction of the picture. The director became depressed, locked himself in his house, for some time even refused to eat. According to historians, the events that caused the loss of the film "Bezhin Meadow" are associated with the beginning of a terrible era - the Stalinist repression. Although the director of the picture, they, fortunately, bypassed.

"Battleship" Potemkin ""

In the early fifties at the World Cinematographic Exhibition, as a result of a vote of famous European critics, this film was named the best in cinema history.Sergey Eisenstein’s film “The Battleship Potemkin” continues to occupy an honorable place in the lists of outstanding works of cinema.

battleship potemkin sergey eisenstein

A lot of books have been written about how it was created. It all began in the mid-twenties, when at one important summit meeting it was decided to make a film about the events of 1905. This project was assigned to a young director, famous for the film “Strike”.

But a few weeks after starting work on the film “1905,” Eisenstein realized that he would not have time to create episodes depicting the events described in the script. Besides, quite a bit of time was allotted for a fairly large-scale work. The director refused this picture and decided to limit himself to an episode about the mutiny on the battleship. So the idea of ​​the film about the warship that was created by Sergei Eisenstein appeared. "Potemkin" became mainly in the film, which began the collaboration of the great director with cameraman Tisse.

In order to make a picture, the armadillo was needed above all. His role was "played" by the ship "Twelve Apostles". Battleship should turn astern towards the sea.But the fact is that the ship was the main warehouse, where several tons of mines were stored. Unloading dangerous goods would take more than one month. A certain number of weeks was allotted for the shooting. I had to work, observing extreme caution. But, despite the difficult conditions in which the film “The Battleship Potemkin” was created, Sergei Eisenstein used in the shooting techniques that were revolutionary in world cinema at that time.

"Alexander Nevsky": the plot

The plot is based on the events of the XIII century. The situation in Russia, aggravated by the Tatar-Mongol invasions, deteriorated with the appearance of a new enemy: the German invaders who invaded from the west. Germanic hordes destroyed Russian villages and cities.

Only Novgorod remained unharmed. The inhabitants of this city, fearing for their own freedom, gathered at the assembly and decided not to wait until the fate of the Pskovs befall them, but to speak independently against the invader. And they were headed by the disgraced prince Alexander Yaroslavich, nicknamed after the legendary battle of Nevsky.

He united the city army with the warriors of his squad, after which he called on those who are able to hold weapons in their hands to rise to fight the invaders. Among the volunteers were many brave experienced fighters.For example, Vasyl Buslay and Gavrila Aleksic. In addition to the natural desire to protect their homeland, these warriors also had a personal motive. They loved one girl - beautiful Olga. And she, in turn, promised to become the wife of the one who will show the greatest courage in battle.

the film of Sergei Eisenstein Alexander Nevsky

History of creation

The film by Sergei Eisenstein "Alexander Nevsky" was released in late November 1938. The premiere took place in the Moscow Cinema House. In early December, the film came out in wide distribution. Initially, the director planned a larger canvas. That is a picture that would cover several key points in the biography of Prince Alexander Yaroslavich. In the scenario, the main character after the victory is sent to the Golden Horde, where he concludes an agreement to reduce the tribute. On the way back dies, having drunk water from a poisonous source. The legendary film of Sergei Eisenstein covered only those events that occurred within one year.

During the shooting of the picture should depict the shores of Lake Peipsi, covered with snow. Decorators, in order to achieve the desired effect, the asphalted area was filled with a mixture consisting of naphthalene, chalk and salt.The episodes in which the Germans collapsed under the ice were filmed in pavilions equipped with special pools. The success of the film “Alexander Nevsky” was predetermined by brilliant direction, wonderful music, the author of which is Sergei Prokofiev, an outstanding cast, as well as the work of the operator.

Sergey Eisenstein movies

But the fate of the picture is still not easy. A few months after the premiere, the Molotov-Ribbentrop agreement was signed. All the films in which the Germans are portrayed negatively were removed from the rental, including Alexander Nevsky. Two years later, Hitler, despite the agreement, still attacked the Soviet Union. Again the film that was created by Sergei Eisenstein became relevant. "Alexander Nevsky" was returned to the rental.

"Ivan the Terrible"

In 1547, the Moscow prince ascended the throne, who by that time was only seventeen years old. A few years later, the young king won the Kazan campaign. Ivan the Terrible had to endure the loss of his first beloved wife, the betrayal of a friend, the boyars plot and defeat in the Livonian war. However, in the struggle for power, he was merciless. One of the most difficult figures in history was dedicated to the film by Sergei Eisenstein.

"Ivan the Terrible" was the last picture of the director. It was not possible to complete it.On February 11, 1948, the great cinematographer died as a result of a massive heart attack.

The personality of Ivan the Terrible was always interested in Eisenstein. Depicting important historical events in his last film, he sought to emphasize the main feature of the political tactics of Ivan the Terrible. Namely, the pursuit of state unity. On his way to his goal, Ivan the Terrible did not stop at nothing.

Sergey Eisenstein Ivan the Terrible

Work on the script began in 1941. Over the years, Eisenstein has carefully studied historical sources, works devoted to the autocrat. According to the original plan, the first part covered the early years of the king, the Kazan campaign, the death of Anastasia. For the role of the protagonist, director Sergei Eisenstein approved Nikolai Cherkasov. Before the actor, he set the difficult, almost impossible tasks. Later in his autobiography, Cherkasov wrote that Eisenstein demanded complete reincarnation from him. To achieve this was almost impossible, because the film covers the events that took place over twenty years.

The film was shot in Alma-Ata, where all Mosfilm employees were evacuated.Despite the wartime, cinematographers provided everything needed to create a monumental picture. Work in the pavilions often had to be done at night: during the day, electricity was supplied for the needs of military factories.

In 1944, the employees of Mosfilm returned to Moscow. Work progressed faster. Nevertheless, the picture turned out to be more ambitious than originally intended. Four years after the end of the war, the shooting was still not completed. Rather, the initial premiere took place, but Stalin and a few close associates attended it, as they were supposed to at the time. The first series of Joseph Vissarionovich liked. The second he criticized and sent for revision. Stalin did not like the absence of the image of the oprichnina as a new feudal layer. The director failed to complete the work.

Sergey Eisenstein Alexander Nevsky

In 1948, after the death of Eisenstein, Cherkasov turned to an old familiar director, Petrov, with a request to finalize the second part of Ivan the Terrible. But it was impossible to complete the work at the level of Eisenstein.


A lot of books have been written about the work of the great director.Of course, a better study of his creative path will help books written by himself. “How I became a director” is one of the works written by Sergei Eisenstein. The autobiography of the director was first published in 1964. In the late nineties, a documentary film was released on the pioneer of the national cinema. The painting is called "House of the Master." Director - Marianna Kireeva.

From September 30, 2016 to February 5, 2017 at the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow, an exhibition entitled "Testimonies: Francisco Goya, Sergey Eisenstein, Robert Longo" is held. These artists, at first glance, have nothing in common. They lived in different times and on different continents. But each of them witnessed vivid historical events and was able to reflect them in his work, using previously unknown artistic techniques and techniques.

exhibition of Sergei Eisenstein

In November 2016, in the Multimedia Art Museum in the capital, Sergey Eisenstein’s exhibition “Assembly of Attractions” was also opened. This event presents drawings, photographs, sketches of an outstanding director. As is known, in the course of his work, Eisenstein made sketches continuously.These sketches allow visitors to get closer to the artist’s works.

Personal life

Sergei Eisenstein, whose biography was the subject of many books and films, was a man completely absorbed in his work. Little is known about his personal life. Sergei Eisenstein married in 1934. His wife was a journalist, known under the pseudonym Per Atasheva. She is also one of the compilers of the complete works of the cinematographer.

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