Balázs and Eisenstein, an exchange on the future of cinema (1926)

Sergei Eisenstein, Béla Balázs, & Soviet Avant-Garde Film Theory

The Charnel-House

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What follows is a translation of three articles. One is by the Hungarian critic, screenwriter, and film theorist Béla Balázs, while the other two were written by the legendary director and master of Soviet cinema, Sergei Eisenstein. Both men considered themselves Marxists. The former, Balázs, was of a slightly more heterodox cast, comparable perhaps to the position of the young Georg Lukács, his fellow countryman and longtime friend. Eisenstein, by contrast, drifted from the harsh engineering aesthetic associated with constructivism early in his career to the monumental Stalinist style toward the end of his life. At the time of his first exchange with Balázs, Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin (1925) was making waves in Western Europe and October: Ten Days that Shook the World (1927) was about to be released. He explained in 1928 to the visiting curator Alfred Barr, future founder of the MoMA, that

I…

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About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish though and philosophical aesthetics. http://religion.syr.edu
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