Sergei Michailowitsch Eisenstein

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sergei Eisenstein
Eisenstein's grave in the Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow.

Sergei Eisenstein ( Russian Сергей Михайлович Эйзенштейн ., Scientific transliteration Sergei Michajlovič Ėjzenštejn ; born January 10 . Jul / 22. January  1898 greg. In Riga , Russian Empire ; † 11. February 1948 in Moscow , Soviet Union ) was a Soviet director . His most famous works are the revolutionary films Battleship Potemkin and October .


His mother was the Russian Julia Konezkaja, his father was the Riga city architect and State Councilor Michail Eisenstein , who built Art Nouveau buildings in the center of Riga , was of German-Swedish descent and converted from Judaism to the Russian Orthodox faith.

Sergei Eisenstein, who grew up in a middle-class family, studied civil engineering at the Petrograd Institute. But he quickly realized that the theater was his great passion. In 1918 he was drafted into the Red Army and worked as a cartoonist on an agitpropzug . In 1920 he moved to the army theater, but in the same year he was delegated to Moscow to study the Japanese language. He broke off this and started working as a set designer in the Proletkult Theater. There he took part in directing courses given by the extreme theater innovator Vsevolod Meyerhold . He continued his artistic career and gained film experience, which he used in stage work (Eisenstein first used filmic sequences on the stage in 1923 in a staging of Ostrowski's Eine Stummheit makes also the cleverest ). With the concept of the attraction assembly , he founded the attempt at an independent, revolutionary art form first theoretically, then in his films. In 1929 he started studying new film technology, and in order to earn money, he made two films abroad ( Frauennot – Frauenglück , La Romance sentimentale). After that, he denied participating in these films. At the invitation of Paramount Pictures , he went to Hollywood in 1930 and lectured at the largest universities in Europe and the USA. Later he taught at the Moscow Film School and wrote some books.

He had his international breakthrough as a director with the revolutionary film Battleship Potemkin , which is now counted as one of the groundbreaking classics in film history as well as his films October and Ivan the Terrible . Some of his later films fell victim to Soviet censorship . From 1934 Eisenstein was married to the journalist and film critic Pera Ataschewa (1900-1965). During the Stalin Purges of 1937/38, the NKVD secret police prepared a show trial with him as the accused, but the trial never came about. The files about it were discovered in the 1990s.

Eisenstein worked with the Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev for two of his films: Alexander Newski and Ivan the Terrible ( Part I and Part II ). The latter was planned as a three-part, but Eisenstein could only complete the first two parts. While the first part of Ivan the Terrible was awarded the Stalin Prize in 1945 , the second part was banned from performance due to the inadequate implementation of Soviet historical images . Stalin personally requested a "post-processing". Together with Prime Minister Vyacheslav Molotov , Stalin gave Eisenstein specific instructions. He criticized the fact that Eisenstein had portrayed the tsar as an indecisive ruler like Hamlet . Moreover, the oprichnina is not shown as a “progressive force”.

As in “ Frauennot - Frauenglück ”, Eisenstein worked again with the cameraman and director Eduard Tisse in his film Strike . Edmund Meisel wrote the music for October , and later musical accompaniment was compiled from symphonies by Dmitri Shostakovich .

On February 11, 1948, Sergei Eisenstein died of a heart attack while he was working on a text on the history of Soviet film. His numerous writings on film theory were only published in parts from the 1960s , as were his memoirs . Eisenstein took a critical look at Ludwig Klages ' expression .

Eisenstein, although active under difficult circumstances, is theoretically and technically (especially due to his innovative assembly technology ) one of the greatest directors and visionaries in film history. His works left a lasting impression and are still often quoted today. Eisenstein received the Stalin Prize in 1941 and 1946 for his services .


  • 1923: Glumov's diary (Дневник Глумова - Dnewnik Glumowa )
  • 1925: Strike (Стачка - Statschka )
  • 1925: Battleship Potemkin (Броненосец "Потёмкин" - Bronenossez "Potjomkin" )
  • 1928: October (Октябрь - Oktjabr )
  • 1929: Storm over La Sarraz (lost)
  • 1929: The general line or the old and the new (Старое и новое or Генеральная линия - Staroe i nowoje or Generalnaja linija )
  • 1930: Romance Sentimentale
  • 1931: Earthquake in Oaxaca
  • 1931/1932: Que viva Mexico! (unfinished)
  • 1935/1937: The Beshin meadow (unfinished, Бежин луг - Beschin lug )
  • 1938: Alexander Newski (Александр Невский - Alexandr Newski )
  • 1939: Fergana Canal (unfinished)
  • 1945–1958: Ivan the Terrible (Иван Грозный - Ivan Grozny)

Films about Sergei Eisenstein

The Russian state film archive Gosfilmofond of Russia wanted to stop supporting Peter Greenaway's project in 2015 if he did not delete references to Eisenstein's homosexuality from the script.


  • Sergej Eisenstein: Selected essays. With an introduction by R. Yurenew. Translated from the Russian by Lothar Fahlbusch. Henschelverlag, Berlin (O) 1960.
  • Sergej Eisenstein: About me and my films. Edited by Lilli Kaufmann, translated by Christiane Mückenberger, Lothar Fahlbusch and Lilli Kaufmann. Henschelverlag, Berlin (O) 1975
  • Sergej Eisenstein: A non-indifferent nature. Edited by Rosemarie Heise, translated by Regine Kühn . Henschelverlag Art and Society, Berlin (O) 1980.
  • Sergej Eisenstein: Yo. Myself. Memoirs. 2 volumes. Translated by Regine Kühn and Rita Braun, edited by Naum Kleiman and Walentina Korschunowa. Introduction Sergei Jutkewitsch . Henschelverlag Art and Society, Berlin (O) 1984.
  • Sergej M. Eisenstein: Writings. 4 volumes. Published by Hans-Joachim Schlegel . Hanser, Munich et al. 1974–1984;
    • Volume 1: Strike (= Hanser series. Vol. 158). 1974, ISBN 3-446-11872-1 ;
    • Volume 2: Battleship Potemkin (= Hanser series. Vol. 135). 1973, ISBN 3-446-11793-8 ;
    • Volume 3: October. With the notes for the film adaptation of Marx's "Capital" (= series Hanser. Vol. 184). 1975, ISBN 3-446-12004-1 ;
    • Volume 4: "The old and the new". ("The General Line"). With the notes of a setting plan and an exchange of letters with Wilhelm Reich in the appendix. 1984, ISBN 3-446-13885-4 .
  • Sergej Eisenstein: teaching program for theory and practice of directing. (= Filmkritik. Vol. 18, No. 12 = H. 216, ISSN  0015-1572 ). Translated by Hans-Joachim Schlegel and Gabriele Hübner. Film critic cooperative, Munich 1974.
  • Sergej Eisenstein: The dynamic square. Writings on film (= Universal Library. No. 1206, Art Studies ). Edited by Oksana Bulgakowa and Dietmar Hochmuth. Reclam, Leipzig 1988, ISBN 3-379-00167-8 (2nd edition, ibid 1991).
  • Sergej Eisenstein: Beyond the setting. Writings on film theory (= Suhrkamp-Taschenbuch Wissenschaft 1766). Edited by Felix Lenz and Helmut Dieterichs. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 2006, ISBN 3-518-29366-4 .
  • Sergej Eisenstein: The method (4 volumes), based on the handwritten original manuscript, ed. and extensively commented by Oksana Bulgakova. Berlin: PotemkinPress 2008, approx. 1660 pp.
  • Сергей Эйзенштейн: Метод. = Sergej Ejzenštejn: The method. 4 volumes. Edited and commented by Oksana Bulgakova. PotemkinPress, Berlin et al. 2008, ISBN 978-3-9804989-3-7 (in Russian and Cyrillic script).
  • Sergej Eisenstein: Discovery in storms and thunderstorms (notes on the history of audiovisual counterpoint). Translated by Hans-Joachim Schlegel. In: Petra Maria Meyer (Ed.): Acoustic turn. Wilhelm Fink, Munich et al. 2008, ISBN 978-3-7705-4389-2 , pp. 489-507.
  • Sergej Eisenstein: Disney. Edited and translated by Oksana Bulgakowa and Dietmar Hochmuth. PotemkinPress, Berlin 2011, ISBN 978-3-943190-00-7 .


  • Anna Bohn: Film and Power. On Sergej M. Eisenstein's art theory 1930–1948 (= Discourse Film. Library. Vol. 16). Schaudig & Ledig, Munich 2003, ISBN 3-926372-66-4 (also: Munich, University, dissertation, 2000).
  • Oksana Bulgakowa: Sergei Eisenstein - three utopias. Architectural drafts of a film theory. Potemkin Press , Berlin 1996, ISBN 3-9804989-0-5 .
  • Oksana Bulgakowa: Sergei Eisenstein. A biography. PotemkinPress, Berlin 1998, ISBN 3-9804989-5-6 (English edition: Sergei Eisenstein. A Biography. PotemkinPress, Berlin / San Francisco CA 2001, ISBN 3-9804989-8-0 ).
  • Ronald Bergan: Eisenstein. A Life in Conflict. Overlook Press, Woodstock NY et al. 1999, ISBN 0-87951-924-X .
  • David Bordwell : The Cinema of Eisenstein. Harvard University Press, Cambridge MA et al. 1993, ISBN 0-674-13137-1 .
  • Sergei Eisenstein: Film Form. Essays in Film Theory. Edited and translated by Jay Leyda. Harcourt, Brace & Co., New York NY 1949.
  • Sergei Eisenstein: The Film Sense. Edited and translated by Jay Leyda. Harcourt, Brace & Co., New York NY 1942.
  • Lisa Gotto (Ed.): Eisenstein Reader. The most important writings on film. Henschel, Leipzig 2011, ISBN 978-3-89487-691-3 .
  • Naum Kleiman , Ulrich Krempel : Example Eisenstein. Drawing. Theatre. Movie. Städtische Kunsthalle, Düsseldorf 1983 (exhibition catalog of the Städtische Kunsthalle Düsseldorf).
  • Sang-Kyong Lee: Sergej Eisenstein's film theory and the Kabuki theater. In: Viennese Slavic Almanac. Vol. 15, 1985, ISSN  0258-6819 , pp. 297-308.
  • Felix Lenz: Sergej Eisenstein: assembly time. Rhythm, formal dramaturgy, pathos. Fink, Paderborn et al. 2008, ISBN 978-3-7705-4680-0 (also: Frankfurt am Main, University, dissertation, 2005).
  • Robert Robertson: Eisenstein on the audiovisual. The montage of music, image and sound in cinema. (= International Library of Cultural Studies. Vol. 5). Tauris, London et al. 2009, ISBN 978-1-84511-839-6 .
  • Viktor Schklowski : Eisenstein. Novel biography. Reinbek near Hamburg, 1977, ISBN 3-499-25055-1 . Verlag Volk und Welt, Berlin (East) 1986, ISBN 3-353-00006-2 (Russian original edition: Эйзенштейн. "Искусство", Москва 1973).
  • Леонид Школьник: Интеллектуальное кино Сергея Эйзенштейна ; Еврейский журнал, January 23, 2007
    Leonid Schkolnik: Sergej Eisenstein's intellectual cinema ; Jewish magazine of January 23, 2007
  • Hans-Joachim Schlegel (Ed.): The "Battleship Potemkin" begins its journey. (Unknown texts on the Moscow premiere sixty years ago) (= Kinemathek. Vol. 67, ISSN  0173-3710 ). Compiled, translated and commented. Friends of the Deutsche Kinemathek, Berlin 1985.
  • Hans-Joachim Schlegel: Eisenstein and the “Second Literary Period of Film”. On the theory and practice of film semiotics in literature. In: Franz-Josef Albersmeier, Volker Roloff (Hrsg.): Literaturverfilmungen (= Suhrkamp-Taschenbuch 2093). Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1989, ISBN 3-518-38593-3 , pp. 38-57.
  • Hartmann Schmige : Eisenstein, Bazin, Kracauer. On the theory of film montage. Medienladen, Hamburg 1977.
  • Werner Sudendorf: Sergej M. Eisenstein. Materials on life and work (= series Hanser. Vol. 157). With the collaboration of Naum I. Kleiman and Hans-Joachim Schlegel. Carl Hanser, Munich 1975, ISBN 3-446-12079-3 .
  • Antonio Somaini: Ejzenštejn. Il cinema, le arti, il montaggio (= Piccola biblioteca Einaudi. NS Bd. 549, Arte, architettura, teatro, cinema, musica ). Einaudi, Torino 2011, ISBN 978-88-06-20732-8 .
  • Eckhard Weise : Sergej M. Eisenstein in personal testimonies and picture documents (= Rowohlt's monographs 233 rororo picture monographs ). Rowohlt, Reinbek near Hamburg 1975, ISBN 3-499-50233-X .
  • Ulrich Wünschel: Sergei Prokofiev's film music for Sergei Eisenstein's Alexander Newski (= Sinefonia. Vol. 3). Wolke-Verlag, Hofheim 2006, ISBN 3-936000-63-8 .
  • Oksana Bulgakowa : [Article] Sergei Eisenstein. In: Thomas Koebner (Ed.): Film directors. Biographies, descriptions of works, filmographies. 3rd, updated and expanded edition. Reclam, Stuttgart 2008 [1. Edition 1999], ISBN 978-3-15-010662-4 , pp. 214-218.

Web links

Commons : Sergei Eisenstein  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files


  1. a b Supplementary stations life [* Oksana Bulgakowa : [Article] Sergej Eisenstein. In: Thomas Koebner (Ed.): Film directors. Biographies, descriptions of works, filmographies. 3rd, updated and expanded edition. Reclam, Stuttgart 2008 [1. Edition 1999], ISBN 978-3-15-010662-4 , pp. 214-218.]
  2. ^ Benedikt Sarnov: Imperija zla. Sud'by pisatelej. Moscow 2011, p. 19.
  3. Леонид Школьник: Интеллектуальное кино Сергея Эйзенштейна , "Еврейский журнал" ( online )
  4. ^ Benedikt Sarnov: Imperija zla. Sud'by pisatelej. Moscow 2011, p. 25.
  5. Russia's Film Foundation Doesn't Want Greenaway to Show Eisenstein Was Gay in Biopic. In: The Moscow Times , January 5, 2015.