Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools

Navigation

Movement, Action, Image, Montage

Sergei Eisenstein and the Cinema in Crisis

2018
Author:

Luka Arsenjuk

Movement, Action, Image, Montage

A major new study of Sergei Eisenstein delivers fresh, in-depth analyses of the iconic filmmaker’s body of work

Luka Arsenjuk considers Sergei Eisenstein as a filmmaker and a theorist, drawing on philosophers such as G. W. F. Hegel and Gilles Deleuze—as well as Eisenstein’s untranslated texts—to reframe how we think about the great director and his legacy. A landmark work on an essential filmmaker, Movement, Action, Image, Montage brings new elements of Eisenstein’s output into academic consideration.

If Eisenstein, his cinema, and his writings sometimes threaten to become invisible, taken-for-granted figures in the history of cinema, Luka Arsenjuk's demanding and articulate polemic returns him and that work to a critical and crucial place in contemporary film culture. This is a book for all film historians and lovers of cinema.

Timothy Corrigan, author of The Essay Film: From Montaigne, After Marker

What can we still learn from Sergei Eisenstein? Long valorized as the essential filmmaker of the Russian Revolution and celebrated for his indispensable contributions to cinematic technique, Eisenstein’s relevance to contemporary culture is far from exhausted. In Movement, Action, Image, Montage, Luka Arsenjuk considers the auteur as a filmmaker and a theorist, drawing on philosophers such as Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and Gilles Deleuze—as well as Eisenstein’s own untranslated texts—to reframe the way we think about the great director and his legacy.



Focusing on Eisenstein’s unique treatment of the foundational concepts of cinema—movement, action, image, and montage—Arsenjuk invests each aspect of the auteur’s art with new significance for the twenty-first century. Eisenstein’s work and thought, he argues, belong as much to the future as the past, and both can offer novel contributions to long-standing cinematic questions and debates.



Movement, Action, Image, Montage brings new elements of Eisenstein’s output into academic consideration, by means ranging from sustained and comprehensive theorization of Eisenstein’s practice as a graphic artist to purposeful engagement with his recently published, unfinished book Method, still unavailable in English translation. This tour de force offers new and significant insights on Eisenstein’s oeuvre—the films, the art, and the theory—and is a landmark work on an essential filmmaker.
Movement, Action, Image, Montage

Luka Arsenjuk is associate professor of film studies and core faculty member in comparative literature at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Movement, Action, Image, Montage

If Eisenstein, his cinema, and his writings sometimes threaten to become invisible, taken-for-granted figures in the history of cinema, Luka Arsenjuk's demanding and articulate polemic returns him and that work to a critical and crucial place in contemporary film culture. This is a book for all film historians and lovers of cinema.

Timothy Corrigan, author of The Essay Film: From Montaigne, After Marker

A uniquely striking work of film theory and historical reflection by one of the most exciting film and critical theorists working today. Movement, Action, Image, Montage is the most important theory of cinematic movement to have emerged since Deleuze’s cinema books. The theory of figuration that accompanies this extraordinary conception of movement will not only change the way that we look at Eisenstein but also how we understand cinema and the related arts more generally.

Brian Price, University of Toronto

Movement, Action, Image, Montage is a critical tour de force, combining brilliant close readings of Eisenstein’s films, drawings, and major texts with subtle speculative thinking. Its central concept, a ‘dialectic of division,’ emphasizes not ‘organic’ synthesis, but the fundamental negativity of Eisensteinian montage and its often-overlooked implications and effects. Drawing on archival material, Luka Arsenjuk succeeds in demonstrating the importance of Eisenstein’s thinking to our own critical moment.

Karla Oeler, Stanford University

The strength of Movement Action Image Montage is the careful archival research. The book is hard going but rewards patient reading with insights into one of film’s innovators.

Shepherd Express

What the book does is to take seriously, rather than to dismiss or gloss over, all of the ways in which Eisensteinian concepts don’t make sense: which is to say, the way their meaning is both unified and,at the same time, always pulling in different interpretive directions; thereby creating something dynamic, evolving, constantly in the process of transformation.

The Russian Review

Movement and stillness; symbol and repetition; the assemblage and the cut can assume “primacy without either being overcome or undermined,” and this is the tension maintained by Eisenstein’s poetics that Arsenjuk is able to show us by means of a thorough, close, careful rereading.


The Russian Review

Luka Arsenjuk has provided the most searching, exacting, and bracing reading of Einstein’s film theory I have ever encountered.

CINEASTE

Arsenjuk anatomises their dialectical self-divison between an ‘epic-heroic’ and a ‘theatrical-grotesque’ mode: on one hand, the epochal pathos and ecstasy of the dictatorship of the proletariat; on the other, a wily gurrilla tactic of explosion, caricature and Grand Guignol.

London Review of Books

Movement, Action, Image, Montage

Contents


Introduction: A Dialectic of Division


1. The Figure-in-Crisis: From Intuition to the Dialectic, from Kinematography to Cinematic Movement


2. The Form-Problem: The Grotesque and the Epic in Action


3. The Event of the Image: Between Symbol and Symptom


4. Montage of Forms: Concept and Witz, Organicism and the Comic


Conclusion: Eisenstein, Ourselves


Acknowledgments


Notes


Index