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Culture news, 12.05.2006 13:31

Erotic Art by Eisenstein On Display at Cannes

eisenstein By Galina Stolyarova

Staff Writer

A collection of forty erotic drawings by the Soviet filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein will be featured in an exclusive exhibition during the forthcoming 59th International Cannes Film Festival.

An unlikely collection from the man behind Soviet classics such as “Battleship Potemkin” (1925), “October” (1927) and “Ivan The Terrible” (1945/6) the exhibition is called “A Mischievous Eisenstein.”

Eisenstein, who died aged 50 in 1948, revolutionised the language of film with editing techniques he developed in the silent-era, which eventually became known to scholars as Soviet Montage. The famous Odessa steps sequence from “Battleship Potemkin” is a much-copied example.

Erotic drawings by Eisenstein are sure to raise interest because he was openly homosexual at a time when social values were in flux in the U.S.S.R.

The event in Cannes is a joint project between producer Andrei Deryabin and St. Petersburg’s Hermitage Bridge Studio, and the Festival de Cannes with the support of the Open Russian Film Festival Kinotavr.

The works on display — open to the public from May 17 to 28 (with the official opening on May 19) — will be copies of original drawings from the vast collections of the Russian State Historical Archive of Literature and Art.

“Eisenstein lived in a period of time that granted an unprecedented diversity and depth of material: a human destiny and a country’s fate at a tragic, pitiless moment,” Deryabin said. “The destruction of values, idols and God, the idea of happiness for everyone and human lives torn to pieces... At this exhibition, Eisenstein is making one more editing of contrasting clips, with his own life serving as the documentary, where the revolutionary blends with erotica and agressive arbitrary rule fuses with sensual irony, a meditation on life and open sexuality on the edge of pornography.”

The resulting pictures, the organizers believe, will be free of lies, tricks, hypocrisy, sanctimoniousness and idolatry.

Eisenstein’s presence in this year’s programme will be enhanced with the screening of two of the director’s hits, including “October” and “Bezhin Meadow” (1937) in the Un Certain Regard section.

The Hermitage Bridge Studio accompanies the exhibition with presentation of a unique album – “A Mischievous Eisenstein” – comprising over 150 playful drawings by Eisenstein that have never been published before.

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