A Study of Sergei Eisenstein’s Montage Theory Essay …
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Montage in Films of Sergei Eisenstein Essay
Eisenstein's studies at the Institute of Civil Engineering in Petrograd were disrupted by the 1917 revolution. Any thoughts of renewing them were rapidly eclipsed by his fascination with theatre, especially that of his future mentor, the actor and theatre director Vsevolod Meyerhold, who ran the Proletkult Theatre in Moscow. Along with the poet Mayakovsky, and the artists Malevich and Tatlin, Meyerhold reassessed the Futurist and Symbolist movements in the pre-revolution years and came up with Constructivism, which would 'be a branch of production, in the service of the revolution' rather than 'pure' art.10 Meyerhold had rejected the naturalism of Stanislavsky's acting methods at the 'monolithic' Moscow Arts Theatre, which would later be 'enshrined as the apogee of Stalinist art'.11 He sought instead to prove the 'primacy of physiological gesture over psychological emotion'12 (as Pavlov was attempting to establish through his experiments concerning reflex conditioning at the time). Subscribing to William James's dictum that 'we weep not because we are sad; we are sad because we weep,' Meyerhold used circus spectacular and body mechanics and drew from commedia dell'arte in order to produce a 'non-verbal, stylised, conventional theatre'. Even F W Taylor, whose time and motion studies in American factories led directly to the deepening of workers' exploitation, exerted an influence. Theoretical faultlines cracked wide open as Stanislavsky sank deeper into mysticism, exploring the Hindu concept of 'prana' and trying to get people to feel radiation rays emitted from his actors' fingertips, provoking an attack by Meyerhold for being 'out of key with the epoch of the machine, the mass, urbanism and Americanism'.13
Eisenstein was steeped in accounts of the 1905 Revolution, and in particular 'Bloody Sunday', when troops opened fire upon a peaceful demonstration at the Tsar's Winter Palace in St Petersburg. Because of 'the wild outburst of reaction and repression...the brutality in my pictures is indissolubly tied up with the theme of social injustice, and revolt against it...'8 His early working years included stints with the Petrograd militia, as a cartoonist for the Petersburgskaya Gazeta, decorating the agitprop trains leaving for the front, and as an engineer in the Red Army during the civil war, serving on the Eastern Front. 'The melting pot of the civil war and military engineering work at the front...' gave him '...a fascinating sense of history in the making, which had made a deep impression with the broad canvas of the fates of nations and epic ambitions, and was then realised in the thematics of future films of monumental scale'.9
Essays and criticism on Sergei Eisenstein ..
The films of Eisenstein have garnered more respect, admiration, and emulation over time, or course. He indeed left a long legacy to the film industry, as many of his scenes still serve as a basis for sequences in modern cinema. However, his career was wrought with turmoil, mostly due to the near impossible standard of Soviet leaders and critics. But it nonetheless lasted decades, and for very good reason. In a society where thoughts discordant with those of the authorities were punished severely, one must change his or her thoughts to ensure security. Eisenstein changed his theories and films based both on cultural demands and those of the government; however, these demands hinged greatly on the rotating leaders and rapidly evolving opinions found therein. Eisenstein adapted to these provisions, and did so without compromising his creativity, a feat very few were capable of and even fewer accomplished.
Sergei eisenstein essays film theory
It is difficult to convey in words simply how many rules were constantly developing in Soviet filmmaking. Directing was a minefield, simultaneously discovering how film should relate to history, people, and leaders and being chastised for doing it incorrectly. The restrictions were astonishing and the fact that Eisenstein was able to produce such art while handcuffed to such regulation is a testament to his temperament. He would eventually abandon the use of typage for professional actors after the failures of “October” and his next feature, “The Old and the New.” As an aside, the casting of the latter became incredibly problematic in its use of peasant girls. They became convinced after a day of shooting that the camera was capable of seeing through their clothes, though they were eventually convinced otherwise.
Sergei Eisenstein vs Andre Bazin Essay - 1230 Words
Like how potential prey must adapt in order to thwart predators, so too did Soviet filmmakers. The works of directors like Sergei Eisenstein had to fluctuate thematically and stylistically to adhere to new cultural demands and political policies. These artists fell under considerable scrutiny, altering their protagonists, stories, and dialectics as a result of oft-changing opinions of Soviet leaders. The Party controlled the artistic landscape and in turn these artists had to accommodate mercurial emotive responses to continue their practices. And in 1928, Eisenstein was met with his harshest criticism yet, upon the release of “October: Ten Days that Shook the World.”