He’s known as the “father of montage.”
Eisenstein, who was born in Russia in 1898, was the mastermind behind montage, “a film technique of editing a fast-paced sequence of short shots to transcend time or suggest thematic juxtapositions,” Google wrote.
Essentially, a montage compresses time and gives the audience a lot of information in a short period of time. This type of technique often invokes emotion. In fact, according to CNET, Eisenstein believed the montage was “the nerve of the cinema,” and could be used to manipulate the audience’s emotions.
Learn more about Eisenstein’s technique by watching the video below:
He’s best known for directing some groundbreaking films.
The Soviet artist and director is best known for his silent montage films, including “Strike” (1925), Battleship Potemkin (1925) and “October” (1928).
But some of Eisenstein’s historical epics, “Alexander Nevsky” (1938) and the two-part “Ivan the Terrible” (1944, 1958) left a lasting impression on modern filmmaking.
According to CNET, his work influenced the work of many notable filmmakers, including Alfred Hitchcock and Brian De Palma.
He received the Order of Lenin and Stalin Prize.
Eisenstein received the awards for his film “Alexander Nevsky” (1938), a movie with anti-Nazi Germany themes.
But when dictator Joseph Stalin entered into a pact with Adolf Hitler of Germany in 1939, Eisenstein’s “Nevsky” was quickly pulled. It wasn’t until 1941, after war broke out with Germany, that the film was re-released to international acclaim.
He was good friends with American actor Charlie Chaplin.
The two spent a lot of time together in the 1930s.
In Chaplin’s memoirs, he wrote about playing tennis with Eisenstein, going on boat rides and even described Eisenstein’s film “Battleship Potemkin” as “the best film in the world,” according to his memoir.
According to Ronald Bergan’s book, “Sergei Eisenstein: A Life in Conflict,” Eisenstein wrote, “Reality is like the serious white clown. It seems earnest and logical. Circumspect and prudent. But in the final analysis it is reality that looks the fool, the object of derision. Its partner, Chaplin, guileless and childlike, comes out on top. He laughs carelessly without even noticing that his laugh slays reality.”
He died when he was 50 years old.
Eisenstein died of a second heart attack on Feb. 11, 1948, in his Moscow apartment.