Table of contents:
- Childhood is a "time of sorrow"
- Sir Gay
- Carrots and sticks from Stalin
- Silent sublimation
- Complex personality
Video: Battleship Eisenstein - Great And Terrible
2023 Author: Oswald Adamson | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-27 12:13
The title of the article is correct only in a symbolic sense. According to his personal characteristics, Sergei Eisenstein (1898-1948) was not an "armadillo". Although his regalia are quite impressive: an outstanding Soviet director, art theorist, teacher of VGIK; Doctor of Art History, Honored Artist of Russia, laureate of two Stalin Prizes of the first degree.
Accentuated personality compensated by successful creative self-expression. Specific phobias with anxiety. Homosexual addiction is not considered a mental disorder in our time.
Childhood is a "time of sorrow"
The future director was born in Riga, in a wealthy family. He grew up a sickly and withdrawn boy, obedient and very intelligent: "At the age of eleven, he already spoke Russian, German, French and English, read Dostoevsky, as well as Zola and Dickens in the original."
But it is possible that in the world of books and languages, he was hiding from endless family troubles. “My mother shouted that my father was a thief, and my father that my mother was a corrupt woman,” Eisenstein recalled. “One day my mother, as I remember now, in a wonderful checkered silk red and green blouse ran hysterically through the apartment in order to throw herself down the flight of stairs. I remember how papa carried her back in hysterics. Parents rarely think that their family failures are the key to the future family disorder of their children. Sergei Mikhailovich is a convincing example of this.
Was this where his strange fear of women came from? The young man chose virginity for life, "moving away from the biological call of instinct."
Virginity as creativity
A man can choose virginity as a lifestyle for several reasons.
1) Delusional attitude of a mentally ill person (in the case of Eisenstein, this option is excluded).
2) Ideological or religious considerations, such as celibacy among the Catholic clergy (we have no reason to think about such a motive).
3) But the fact that the famous director has a rational decision to remain a virgin for creative reasons, supported by a disorder of sexual preference, is quite a possible option.
Eisenstein's memoirs are "full of anecdotal stories and conflicting interpretations." The conclusions and assumptions of biographers are based on these memories. So we will focus only on those pathographic facts that are mentioned in most biographies.
In 1915, Eisenstein entered the Institute of Civil Engineers in Petrograd, but architecture did not become the main interest of his life, everything was overshadowed by the craving for theater and drawing. In 1917, he took his first cartoons to Ogonyok, signing them Sir Gay, translated as "Merry Sir", the pronunciation of the pseudonym sounded like his name - "Gray-gay".
Eisenstein had no idea that in fifty years the word "gay" would acquire a completely different meaning. In 1921-1922, the young man studied at the State Higher Directing Workshops under the leadership of Vsevolod Meyerhold.
Artists, bohemians, and "liberal professions" probably attracted Eisenstein. And the times were not the most "stable". And when one's own sexuality has not yet "settled down", relations with others are involuntarily built not in the most traditional way. In any case, rumors circulated in cinematic circles about Eisenstein's homosexual relationship with Grigory Aleksandrov (the future husband of Lyubov Orlova).
A good boy with an incomprehensible sexual orientation, who escaped from the care of his parents, at the age of 27, made a truly revolutionary revolution in the art of cinema. Charlie Chaplin named "Battleship Potemkin" the best motion picture in the world. During filming, Eisenstein met the film journalist Pera Atasheva. Their relationship remained innocent, even when it was legalized by an official marriage in 1934.
“Many people say that I am a homosexual. I have never been, and I would tell you if it were true. I have never felt such a desire,”said the director. But let us recall that homosexuality in the USSR was persecuted by law.
In the thirties in Berlin, Eisenstein plunged into the life of gay nightclubs with undisguised curiosity. But in the end he came to the conclusion that the path of abstinence and sublimation he had chosen is more productive in a creative sense than the liberation of his sexuality.
Nikolai Levitsky, film director and former student of Eisenstein at VGIK, recalls: "He was not devoid of coquetry … I remember his gait - a little feminine, with a free wave of his hand." And one more significant detail: in his youth, Sergei Mikhailovich wanted to become an artist, but his performances "did not work out", since "his voice was like a drag queen * and was discordant with his complexion and figure."
* Travesty - the role of an actor playing the role of the opposite sex.
The premiere of the film "Battleship Potemkin" took place in the "Khudozhestvenny" cinema on Arbat, which was then called "State Electrotheatre", on January 18, 1926. All service personnel, from usher to projectionist, were dressed in naval uniforms, and the facade of the cinema resembled a large model of a warship. Subsequently, other cinemas also decorated the front entrance.
Carrots and sticks from Stalin
The director's career has not been smooth, not least because of the ironic nature and love for not quite decent jokes about those in power.
Eisenstein gushed with ideas. He composed scripts, was eager to make films, and in response he heard one word - "no"! And the films of this genius will be counted by an ordinary viewer on the fingers of one hand: “Battleship Potemkin”, “Alexander Nevsky”, “Ivan the Terrible”. The rest were either not remembered or were not completed for reasons beyond Eisenstein's control.
For example, in 1931 he shot “Long Live Mexico!”, But when the work was almost ready, the director was unexpectedly recalled to his homeland by telegram on behalf of Stalin. The negative of the film remained in the United States. Pera Atasheva said that this traumatized Eisenstein so much that he attempted suicide while trying to hang himself. Fortunately, they managed to prevent him.
The director had a lot of such unfinished masterpieces. Returning to the USSR in 1932, Eisenstein took up teaching, periodically trying to get permission to shoot. But only in 1938 he was allowed to stage the film "Alexander Nevsky" according to a script written in collaboration with the writer Pyotr Pavlenko. The picture was a great success, the director received the Order of Lenin, and without protection he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Art History.
The director created his last masterpiece, Ivan the Terrible, for six years, starting in 1941. And with the already traditional attitude of the authorities towards him: for the first episode he received the Stalin Prize, and the second episode was banned from showing, after that the shooting of the third was stopped. Of course, all this could not but affect the health of Sergei Mikhailovich: he began to have pains in his heart, he became bald and not flabby for his age.
Epic with a villain
The authorities had a reason not to love Eisenstein. Once the chairman of the State Administration of the Film and Photo Industry, Shumyatsky, recommended that the director shoot "an epic based on a classic Russian work." Sergei Mikhailovich immediately expressed his readiness to stage "Luka" by "the little-known Russian poet Ivan Barkov." The work was banned by the tsarist censorship, it was published clandestinely, and now it's supposedly the time to film it. Shumyatsky demanded that the secretary urgently deliver him a book from the Lenin library. One can imagine the reaction of others, and later of the official himself. "I will settle scores with this scoundrel," shouted Shumyatsky. Of course, in the future, the head of such a rank hindered the work of the director as best he could. But, fortunately for cinematography, quite unsuccessfully.
There is a peculiar interpretation of the second episode of Ivan the Terrible, which was banned by Stalin. She allegedly presents a story about "the tragedy of same-sex love … The traitor Kurbsky did not betray his fatherland, but his lover - Tsar Ivan." There is an assumption that under the guise of political terror, Eisenstein managed to detect sexual pathology.
Most biographers note the dominance of erotic overtones in Eisenstein's hobbies and speech (with an outwardly moderate and orderly life - the director did not drink or smoke). According to the memoirs of Mikhail Romm, "Eisenstein especially loved to draw obscene pictures in front of the ladies." Only in this way could he express the sexual desires that overwhelmed him. Most of Eisenstein's 2,000 drawings have not been published.
Publicist and screenwriter Boris Agapov notices another strange feature of the director: Sergei Mikhailovich loved "ugly figures depicting all the absurdities and abominations of a person, his strongest and most base passions, with which Eisenstein loved to tinker with, like Pavlov with the saliva of his dog."
The director did not show any sexual interest in women; in his films, "boys" prevail, and there are almost no "girls". Women perform a purely social function: comrade, ally, warrior. “Eisenstein did not have a single serious love with a woman. There was no real family. There was no normal sexual relationship. But there were attempts! " The director once wrote to his wife that he “never brought things to an end with the objects of love”.
Such a psychological feature of Eisenstein is of interest: the easiest way for him to explain himself was with the help of drawings, which he did continuously. “His verbal texts, on the contrary, are usually distinguished by extreme complexity of construction. For the most part, his notes for himself, partially published, are a mixture of words or parts of phrases in four (and sometimes five) languages."
Death came instantly, Eisenstein did not even have time to grab the wrench with which he knocked on the battery, calling the neighbors for help
In the photo taken after the autopsy, the huge right hemisphere, which is responsible for human imagination and imaginative thinking, sharply opposed the left, relatively small, which is responsible for logical thinking.
For all his intellectuality, Eisenstein "was afraid of the evil eye, believed in omens, did not start anything on Monday and was most afraid of Black Friday, trying not to start anything serious that day, not to leave the house." By the way, he was buried on Friday, February 13th. According to the recollections of Nikolai Cherkasov, People's Artist of the USSR, “he was afraid to die - a Mexican fortune teller predicted his death at fifty. When the House of Cinema wanted to celebrate his fiftieth anniversary, he said: "Shh, shh, we will postpone for a month," and he died two weeks later."
The Moscow House of Photography ended the Year of Cinema with an exhibition dedicated to Sergei Eisenstein. In particular, it shows a beaded handbag, which the director presented to his student with the parting words “Do not throw beads like a teacher”. He was well aware that he had to "throw pearls in front of pigs."
Eisenstein can be attributed to "polyphonic personalities" (the simultaneous sound of several characterological radicals). His abilities and pathocharacterological features are so diverse that it is difficult to "squeeze" them into the narrow framework of a certain diagnosis. In this case, you can afford to put it this way: the diagnosis is "Eisenstein".
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