Sergei Eisenstein: A Biography

Potemkin Press, 2001 - 290 pages
Sergei Eisenstein was born in Riga in 1898. His father was a Jew of German origin who had converted to Russian Orthodoxy and who passed himself off as a Baltic baron. His mother was the daughter of wealthy Russian (and traditionally anti-Semitic) merchants from St.Petersburg. Eisenstein's life was full of unforeseen diversions and turns of events. Would he become an architect like his father and go into German exile in 1918? Would he be banished as a Freemason in 1925, or stay in the USA in 1932? Would he be sentenced by a special court in 1939 to be executed, like his friends Isaak Babel and Vsevolod Meyerhold? Or would he ultimately die as a Stalin Prize winner (for "Ivan the Terrible", Part I) of a heart attack caused by the ban on Part II? This biography came into being after extensive research in Moscow, Berlin, Paris, New York, and Los Angeles. The author is the first to analyze Eisenstein's diaries and correspondence?materials that were inaccessible in the past. Eisenstein's relations with Freemasons, Rosicrucians and Stalin, with rivals and admirers, with psychoanalysts who treated him?are no longer faded out. Was Eisenstein homosexual? A Stalinist? A conformist? A dissident? He left no clear answers for his biographers. Oksana Bulgakowa's study of Eisenstein's life tries to uncover these themes in his films and drawings, between the lines of his diaries and letters, in his drafts to screenplays, projects, and research. Late in life Eisenstein viewed this research as his only possible means of salvation from the compromises he had consciously made with himself and his creativity. Oksana Bulgakowa (b. 1954) graduated from the Moscow Film Institute VGIK in 1977. In the same year she moved to Berlin/GDR and received her doctoral degree from Humboldt University in 1982. She works as an author, editor, translator, and filmmaker. Since 1998 she has been a visiting professor at Stanford University, USA. [For further information go to]

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