Saturday, January 8, 2011: 12:30 PM
Exeter Room (Marriott Boston Copley Place)
Professional historians tend to be suspicious of historical films, and for good reason. Film makers do not share our concerns with evidence and their goals as well as their audiences differ from ours. Eisenstein's Ivan the Terrible will never be mistaken for a historian’s rendering of the past and Eisenstein never claimed to match historians’ standards for accuracy (at times, he mocked them). His immersion in the primary and secondary sources on Ivan’s Muscovy, however, indicates an approach that is far from cavalier. This paper examines the specific ways Eisenstein read the historical literature and the ways he joined it to his thinking about psychology, ethnography and myth as well as through his own experience as a player in Russian history, to show how the film maker developed his ideas about political power and the ways power was exercised in Russia, past and present.