Mikhail Kalatozov’s film career followed a circuitous path. By dint of birth, he belonged to the zeitgeist of the 20s, the generation of Eisenstein, Pudovkin, Kozintsev and Vertov. However the long gaps in his filmography did not allow for a consistent development of cinematic style and theme. These ruptures are results of the fluctuating changes of the Soviet Union’s film policy. It’s shift from the avant-garde in the 1920s to a major cog in Stalin’s propaganda factory and finally its resurgence during the “thaw” of de-Stalinization. A Georgian by birth, Kalatozov’s early career had strong local roots. At the Tiblisi Film Studio, he apprenticed as a camera operator, writer and editor on films such Gulli and Gipsy Blood. His directorial career began with Their Empire and The Blind Woman.
His first major work was the experimental Salt for Svanetia, made in 1930. The film was an ethnographic portrait of the distinct culture of the people of Svanetia, a mountainous region in northwestern… read more