Sergei Eisenstein (Dictionary of World Biography: Twentieth Century)
Article abstract: Universally regarded as one of the greatest directors in the history of the cinema, and an influential theorist and teacher as well, Eisenstein pioneered a method of film editing known as montage. As the result of political censorship, he completed only six films in his lifetime, three of which—Potemkin, Alexander Nevsky, and Ivan the Terrible—are considered classics.
Sergei Eisenstein was born on January 23, 1898, in Riga, Latvia, the son of a wealthy shipbuilder of Jewish descent. In 1910, Eisenstein and his family moved to St. Petersburg. Several facets of Eisenstein’s childhood were to play an important role in his subsequent creative work. His nurse introduced him to fables and legends, some of which received artistic expression in films such as Staroye i Novoye (1929; The General Line), a fable, and Alexander Nevsky, a legend. As a child, Eisenstein developed a penchant for sketching, a talent that was to stand him in good stead years later when he planned scenes for films. Eisenstein’s childhood reading of novels by Alexandre Dumas, père, and Victor Hugo prepared his sympathies for the Russian Revolution and for the victims of social injustice, both of which he used as subjects of his films years later. The origin of Eisenstein’s preoccupation with revolution can also be traced to the terrifying and shocking events that he witnessed as a...
(The entire section is 2446 words.)
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