Spring 2025

Sergei Eisenstein's Cinema and Thought

Listed in: Film and Media Studies, as FAMS-357  |  Russian, as RUSS-345


Michael M. Kunichika (Section 01)


(Offered as RUSS 345 and FAMS 357) This course focuses on Sergei Eisenstein (1989-1948), whose seminal works in the history and theory of cinema are the subject of our sustained examination. As Eisenstein postulated in 1939, "the method of cinema, when fully comprehended, will enable us to reveal an understanding of the method of art in general." In our effort to comprehend his work and enduring relevance, we will consider Eisenstein's stylistics through attentive viewing of his key films: Strike, Battleship Potemkin, October, Old and New, the never completed ¡Que viva México!, Alexander Nevsky, and Ivan the Terrible. Along with examining their formal features and rich historical and ideological contexts, we will also consider Eisenstein's theoretical texts on cinema and culture, attending in particular to his theories of montage, method, and his writings on the histories of literature and art. The course aims to situate his work within the broad aesthetic, philosophical, and political currents of his time, which he reflected upon in his work, and to which he, a quintessential modernist, made his distinctive and influential contributions. No familiarity with Russian history or culture expected. All readings in English.

Spring semester. Professor Kunichika.

How to handle overenrollment: null

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: Visual analysis and analytical writing

Course Materials


2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2015, Fall 2017, Spring 2019, Spring 2025