Ivan the Terrible: The Film Companion (Kinofiles Film Companion) by Joan Neuberger


Dr. Neuberger studies modern Russian culture in social and political context. Her teaching interests include modern Russia, nineteenth-century Europe, gender, film and visual culture. Her book «Ivan the Terrible: the film companion» (2003) devoted to the greatest film «Ivan the Terrible» by Sergei Mikhailovich Eisenstein.


Eisenstein’s last, unfinished masterpiece is a strange, complex and haunting film. Commissioned personally by Stalin in 1941, Ivan the Terrible placed Eisenstein in the paradoxical situation of having to glorify Stalinist politic in the image of Ivan without sacrificing his own artistic and political integrity — or his life. Drawing on sources that include Eisenstein’s personal archive and the memoirs of those involved in the film’s making, Joan Neuberger’s vivid account reveals how, in almost impossible circumstances, Eisenstein managed to create a film of cinematic innovation, intellectual depth and political critique. She reveals the film to be both a great work of art and a product of the time and place in which it was made.


Quote from the book:

“Ivan the Terrible is a film about dualism, so it is fitting that this book has a dual purpose. First it offers an analytical study of Eisenstein’s great, last, unfinished masterpiece as a work of art. Second, it places the film in its historical and political context. Ivan the Terrible has almost always been viewed as a film whose politics were an unfortunate necessity, a bow to the Stalinist dictatorship and its artistic policy of Socialist Realism.”