Ivan the Terrible, part 2

Sergei Eisenstein1945

Eisensteins Universum, Film Studies, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz

Eisensteins Universum, Film Studies, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz

Eisenstein had filmed the murder of prince Vladimir, a homosexual, whose mother wanted to see him at the pinnacle of power, in the winter of 1944 when he returned to the intense study of ecstasy. Now he understood ecstasy as the state of being absorbed in the womb. He had taken the idea from a book by Freud’s student Otto Rank "The Trauma of Birth" (1924). Eisenstein modified Rank’s idea and unexpectedly included it in the murder scene, which he interpreted as a return to the womb. He wanted the cameraman Andrei Moskvin to light the scene the way an embryo would see it from inside. The designer Iosif Shpinel was not allowed to use corners in the set construction. Everything was to remain round, and Eisenstein wanted Sergei Prokofiev to write the music in the rhythm of birthing contractions. Eisenstein conceived of Vladimir’s murder as the climax of the movie. The scene imitated the iconography of the pieta and lifted the murder out of the frame of political necessity: the murder of the least important person cannot be justified by state power.

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Details

  • Title: Ivan the Terrible, part 2
  • Creator: Sergei Eisenstein
  • Date Created: 1945
  • Location: Alma Ata
  • Medium: Film
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