Vsevolod Pudovkin  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Vsevolod Illarionovich Pudovkin (February 16, 1893June 20, 1953) was a Russian film director who developed influential theories of montage. Pudovkin's masterpieces are often contrasted with those of his contemporary Sergei Eisenstein, but whereas Eisenstein utilized montage to glorify the power of the masses, Pudovkin preferred to concentrate on the courage and resilience of individuals.

A student of engineering at Moscow University, Pudovkin saw active duty during World War I, being captured by the Germans. After the war, he abandoned his professional activity and joined the world of cinema, first as a screenwriter, actor and art director, and then as an assistant director to Kulechov.

After a few tries with advertising cinema, he directed in 1926 that which will be considered one of the masterpieces of silent movies: Mother, where he developed several montage theories that will make him famous.

His first feature was followed by The End of St. Petersburg (1927), and Storm Over Asia (also known as The Heir of Genghis Khan), titles which compose a trilogy at the service of the bolshevik revolutionary policy.

In 1928, with the advent of talkies, Pudovkin, Eisenstein and Alejandrov signed the Manifest of Sound, in which the possibilities of sound are debated, and always understood as a complement to image. This idea would be brought to bear in his next pictures: A Simple Case / Life is Beautiful (1932) and The Deserter (1933), works that do not match the quality of earlier work.

With an interruption due to health concerns, Pudovkin returned to the movies in 1938, with a cycle of historic pieces that are not as successful as earlier works: Victory (1938); Minin and Pozharsky (1939) and General Suvorov (1941).

With the end of World War II, under Party criticism, he returned to his earlier subjects. His last work was The Return of Vasili Bortnikov (1952).




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