Sergei Eisenstein 120th Birthday

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Sergei Eisentein
  • Navneel Maji 

Sergei Eisenstein was a ‘revolutionary Russian director’, the title he attained for his contribution through cinema art in laying the foundation of the ideology of Soviet Union and for the creation and mastering of a technique of montage. Montage is a series of frames edited together to get a sense of time moving faster or slower – a technique widely used, in many great films like Citizen Kane, Fight Club, The Godfather.

Hence, he is also known as the father of Montage. Some of his masterpieces are Battleship Potemkin, Strike, and The General Line, which are relevant socially and cinematically even today.

He was born to a middle-class family in Riga, Latvia. Eisenstein’s family moved regularly in his early years. He studied architecture and engineering. He left school and joined the Red Army to serve the Bolshevik Revolution, in spite of his father supporting the other side. He was made to hold a position in Minsk, after his role for October Revolution.

In 1923, Eisenstein began his career as a theorist. His first film being ‘Glumov’s Diary’. He got his break after his first feather film, Strike. In the same year of 1925 when he made it, he also made his magnum ‘The Battleship Potemkin’, which got him huge fame and appreciation worldwide.

 

Though his fame grew from there on, at home, he along with the like-minded people such as Vsevolod Pudovkin and Alexander Dovzhenko, were forced to reform his cinematic visions and increasingly conform to the socialist realism. His other iconic technique is to use the sort of a stock and flat character and not any heroic individualist one, so totally avoiding casting stars. They talked about broad issues, especially class conflict.

The world lost the great filmmaker, revolutionary on February 11, 1948. He died of heart attack at the age of 50. His legacy has been nothing short of a huge contribution to humanity for the years ahead.

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