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The Flying Fish: Sergei Eisenstein Abroad, 1929-1932

Ryabchikova, Natalia (2017) The Flying Fish: Sergei Eisenstein Abroad, 1929-1932. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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My dissertation project examines the journey of the Soviet film director Sergei Eisenstein and his two collaborators, Eduard Tisse and Grigorii Aleksandrov to Europe, the United States, and Mexico during 1929–32. It argues that it was precisely that time when the director accumulated ideas that bridged his classical silent film theory with far-reaching aesthetic, anthropological, and cultural conceptions of his later life. His interactions with multiple cultural figures of Europe, the United States, and Mexico as well as his experience of working under various economic and political regimes around the world led Eisenstein to reevaluate the role of individual (especially creative individual) in contemporary society and in history.
Chapter One traces Eisenstein’s interest in biographies and autobiographies, including his own, and shows how this interest was connected to his self-perception as an artist, on the one hand, and to his journey abroad, on the other. Chapters Two through Four trace three successive parts of the journey: the European one (from August 1929 to May 1930), the American one (from May to November 1930), and the Mexican one (from December 1930 to April 1932).
The dissertation shows Eisenstein’s reevaluation of the position of a creative artist under various economic and political regimes, with the influence that the Soviet state production continued to exert on him even abroad, while he also tried to navigate the world of the Hollywood studio system and privately funded European and American “independent” productions. The dissertation also examines the ways in which Eisenstein negotiating his national, social, and cultural identity (as an artist, a scholar, and a representative of the Soviet/communist system). It does so on the basis of such diverse examples as his and his companion’s linguistic skills or their choice of clothing. I also argue that seemingly marginal or esoteric interests of Eisenstein, such as graphology and palmistry, that became manifest during this period, supply us with a means of accessing his own view of the circumstances of the journey and the evaluation and construction of his public image, as well as serve as important gateways into his later theoretical works.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Ryabchikova, Natalianar46@pitt.edunar46
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee MemberAnderson, Mark Lynn
Committee MemberChase, William
Committee MemberCondee, Nancy
Committee MemberHalle, Randall
Committee ChairPadunov,
Date: 30 January 2017
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 27 October 2016
Approval Date: 30 January 2017
Submission Date: 7 December 2016
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Number of Pages: 223
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Film Studies
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sergei Eisenstein, Soviet cinema, cinema history, Grigorii Aleksandrov, Eduard Tisse
Date Deposited: 30 Jan 2017 19:14
Last Modified: 30 Jan 2022 06:15

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