FP Staff Jan 22, 2018 06:51 AM IST
The history of cinema would remain indebted to the Soviet filmmaker and film theorist Sergei Eisenstein who introduced the art of creating montages through editing to the world of filmmaking.
He and his techniques are revered across the globe for the kind of effect they had for batches of filmmakers that followed. Google Doodle commemorates the brilliance of Eisenstein's cinematic legacy on what would have been his 120th birth anniversary on 22 January.
Eisenstein was born (as Sergei Mikhailovich Eizenshtein) in the year 1898 in Riga, Latvia (Governorate of Livonia, which was then part of the Russian empire) in an affluent family. His father was a rich architect and engineer. Young Eisenstein too followed his father's profession and studied at the Institute of Civil Engineering in Petrograd; later, with the fall of the Tzar empire, he joined the Red Army in 1917 during the Bolshevik Revolution.
In 1920, Eisenstein came to Moscow where he joined the Proletkult Theatre as a set designer and later also as a director. It was there when he met Vsevolod Meyerhold, the theatre director who have had a huge influence on Eisenstein's school of filmmaking. By 1923, he had already started working as a film theorist.
In 1925, Eisenstein directed his first film Strike, that was followed by what is regarded as one his most monumental works — Battleship Potemkin. In the film, Eisenstein presented to the world his "montage" — a technique of editing and placing shots in a sequence that would evoke emotions much larger in comparison to that of the summation of shots, that he would call an "intellectual montage". Battleship Potemkin was a revolutionary propaganda film that was divided into five acts. The "Odessa Steps" sequence is till date considered a masterpiece. Eisenstein moved the audiences across the world with the way he shot (or rather edited) the sequence.
In his brief yet illustrious career, Eisenstein has seen both ups and downs. While his films enjoyed a cult status across the globe, they were banned in Russia itself. He took his last breath in 1948 aged 50. Many of his films, that were banned earlier, were gradually released. Some of his other known films include October (1928), Ivan the Terrible (trilogy - 1945, 1958, released in 1988), Alexander Nevsky (1938), Que Viva Mexico (released in 1979) to name a few.