Navigating the deadly waters of Stalinist politics, Eisenstein was able to film two parts of his planned trilogy about the troubled sixteenth-century tsar who united Russia. Visually stunning and powerfully acted, Ivan the Terrible charts the rise to power and descent into terror of this veritable dictator. Though pleased with the first installment, Stalin detected the portrait in the second film—with its summary executions and secret police—and promptly banned it. —The Criterion Collection
The son of a shipbuilder, Eisenstein chose a career in the arts over engineering or architecture. After W.W. I he worked as a designer and a director in the theater, where he developed his theory of “Soviet realism.” One of his plays was staged not in a theater but in a gasworks. It was inevitable that Eisenstein would gravitate toward cinema, with its natural potential for realism.
His 1st film, Strike (1924), was so inventive and vigorous that it drew immediate attention. The 27-year-old director filmed Potemkin in 2 months. It is remarkable for its maturity and masterly use of camera techniques. Eisenstein was also a pioneer in film editing, and the film is a virtual textbook of this art. In a famous scene, a baby carriage rolls down a long flight of steps while a horrified student watches helplessly from below. The images are intercut and the action slows down, alternating the separate images into one shocking scene. So original was his style that even though it has been… read more
Incredible imagery and filmmaking that many modern filmmakers would do well to study. Not a shot or edit is wasted in this tightly constructed exercise. An amazing potrayal of a man of power with no shortage of political alleghory. The duality of epic capture and use of extreme closeup and perspective shot masterful. Essential cinema from an essential director. Cherkasov mesmerizing in lead role.
By the time he made “Ivan the Terrible” Eisenstein had moved from employing film montage juxtapositions to creating juxtapositions within the frame so the feel of the movie is very different from his… read review
In 1547, Ivan IV, the duke of Moscow, crowns himself czar of Russia, with his goal to reconquer Russian territory. A turbulent time in Russian history with battles against Tartars, his marriage with… read review