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This Thing of Darkness. Eisenstein's Ivan the Terrible in Stalin's Russia

Author: Joan Neuberger
Date: 2019
Language: English
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Sergei Eisenstein's unfinished masterpiece, Ivan the Terrible, was no ordinary movie. Commissioned by Joseph Stalin in 1941 to justify state terror in the sixteenth century and in the twentieth, the film's politics, style, and epic scope aroused controversy even before it was released. In This Thing of Darkness, Joan Neuberger offers a sweeping account of the conception, making, and reception of Ivan the Terrible that weaves together Eisenstein's expansive thinking and experimental practice with a groundbreaking new view of artistic production under Stalin. Drawing on Eisenstein's unpublished production notebooks, diaries, and manuscripts, Neuberger's riveting narrative chronicles Eisenstein's personal, creative, and political challenges and reveals the ways cinematic invention, artistic theory, political critique, and historical and psychological analysis went hand in hand in this famously complex film.

  

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Publisher: Cornell University Press
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Review copy: available for review