Vsevolod Illarionovich Pudovkin (Russian: Всеволод Илларионович Пудовкин, 16 February 1893 – 30 June 1953) was a Russian and Soviet film director, screenwriter and actor who developed influential theories of montage. Pudovkin's masterpieces are often contrasted with those of his contemporary Sergei Eisenstein, but whereas Eisenstein utilized montage to glorify the power of the masses, Pudovkin preferred to concentrate on the courage and resilience of individuals. He was granted the title of People's Artist of the USSR in 1948.
Pudovkin in Italy in 1951
|Born||Vsevolod Illarionovich Pudovkin
16 February 1893
Penza, Russian Empire
|Died||30 June 1953
Jūrmala, Latvian SSR, Soviet Union
|Occupation||Film director, screenwriter, actor|
Vsevolod Pudovkin was born in Penza, Russian Empire into a Russian family, the third of six children. In four years his family moved to Moscow. His father Illarion Epifanovich Pudovkin came from peasants of the Penza Governorate. He worked in several companies as a manager and a door-to-door salesman. Vsevolod's mother Elizaveta Alexandrovna Pudovkina (née Shilkina) was a housewife.
A student of engineering at Moscow University, Pudovkin saw active duty during World War I, being captured by the Germans. During this time he studied foreign languages and did book illustrations. After the war, he abandoned his professional activity and joined the world of cinema, first as a screenwriter, actor and art director, and then as an assistant director to Lev Kuleshov.
His first notable work was a comedy short Chess Fever (1925) co-directed with Nikolai Shpikovsky. José Raúl Capablanca played a small part in it, with a number of other cameos presented. In 1926 he directed which will be considered one of the masterpieces of silent movies: Mother, where he developed several montage theories that would make him famous. Both movies featured Pudovkin's wife Anna Nikolaevna Zemtsova in the main female parts (she left cinema shortly after).
His first feature was followed by The End of St. Petersburg (1927), and Storm Over Asia (also known as The Heir of Genghis Khan), titles which compose a trilogy at the service of the bolshevik revolutionary policy.
In 1928, with the advent of sound film, Pudovkin, Sergei Eisenstein and Grigori Aleksandrov signed the Manifest of Sound, in which the possibilities of sound are debated, and always understood as a complement to image. This idea would be brought to bear in his next pictures: A Simple Case (1932) and The Deserter (1933), works that do not match the quality of earlier work. In 1935 he was awarded the Order of Lenin.
After an interruption caused by health concerns, Pudovkin returned to movie making, this time with a number of historical epics: Victory (1938); Minin and Pozharsky (1939) and Suvorov (1941). The last two were often praised as some of the best movies based on Russian history, along with the works of Sergei Eisenstein. Pudovkin was awarded a Stalin Prize for both of them in 1941.
During World War II he was evacuated to Kazakhstan where he directed several patriotic war movies. He also played a small part in the Ivan the Terrible movie (as God's fool). With the end of war he returned to Moscow and continued his work at the Mosfilm studio, making biographical and war movies. In 1947 he was awarded another Stalin Prize for his work on Admiral Nakhimov, and in 1950 — his second Order of Lenin and a third Stalin Prize for Zhukovsky. His last work was The Return of Vasili Bortnikov (1953).
Apart from directing, screenwriting and acting, Pudovkin was also an educator and a journalist, author of several books on film theory, professor at VGIK, president of the cinema section at VOKS (since 1944) and a member of the Soviet Peace Committee.
Vsevolod Pudovkin died on 30 June 1953 in Jūrmala, Latvian SSR (near Riga) after a heart attack. He was buried at the Novodevichy Cemetery. One of the streets in Moscow is named after Pudovkin (see Pudovkin street).
|Year||Original Title||English Title||Notes|
|1920||В дни борьбы||In the Days of Struggle||actor|
|1921||Серп и молот||Sickle and Hammer||actor; screenwriter; assistant director|
|Голод… голод… голод…||Hunger... Hunger... Hunger...||screenwriter; assistant director|
|1923||Слесарь и канцлер||Locksmith and Chancellor||screenwriter|
|1924||Необычайные приключения мистера Веста в стране большевиков||The Extraordinary Adventures of Mr. West in the Land of the Bolsheviks||actor; art director|
|1925||Луч смерти||The Death Ray||actor; screenwriter; assistant director; art director|
|Шахматная горячка||Chess Fever||director (with Nikolai Shpikovsky)|
|1926||Механика головного мозга||Mechanics of the Brain||director; screenwriter|
|1927||Конец Санкт-Петербурга||The End of St. Petersburg||director; actor|
|1928||Потомок Чингиз-Хана||Storm Over Asia||director|
|1929||Новый Вавилон||The New Babylon||actor|
|Живой труп||The Living Corpse||actor|
|Веселая канарейка||The Happy Canary||actor|
|1932||Простой случай||A Simple Case||director (with Mikhail Doller)|
|1938||Победа||Victory||director (with Mikhail Doller)|
|1939||Минин и Пожарский||Minin and Pozharsky||director (with Mikhail Doller)|
|1941||Суворов||Suvorov||director (with Mikhail Doller)|
|Пир в Жирмунке||Feast in Zhirmunka||director (with Mikhail Doller)|
|1942||Убийцы выходят на дорогу||The Murderers are Coming||director (with Yuri Tarich); screenwriter|
|1943||Во имя Родины||In the Name of the Fatherland||director (with Dmitri Vasilyev); screenwriter; actor|
|Юный Фриц||The Young Fritz||actor|
|1944||Иван Грозный||Ivan the Terrible||actor|
|1947||Адмирал Нахимов||Admiral Nakhimov||director; actor|
|1948||Три встречи||Three Encounters||director (segment)|
|1952||Возвращение Василия Бортникова||The Return of Vasili Bortnikov||director (with Dmitri Vasilyev)|
- Film Technique and Film Acting Grove Press. 1958.
- Schnitzer, Luda (1973). Cinema in Revolution. Da Capo Press. ISBN 0306802856.
- Gillespie, David C. (2000). Early Soviet Cinema. Wallflower. ISBN 1903364043.
- Vsevolod Pudovkin (1976). Collection of Works in Three Volumes. Volume 3. Moscow: Iskusstvo, 552 pages.
- Bryher (1922). Film Problems Of Soviet Russia. Riant Chateau TERRITET Switzerland. p. 44.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Vsevolod Pudovkin.|
- Vsevolod Pudovkin on IMDb
- Vsevolod Pudovkin at Find a Grave
- The silent revolutionary: Jonathan Jones on the work of Vsevolod Pudovkin, at Guardian Unlimited
- Islands. Vsevolof Pudovkin documentary by Russia-K, 2005 (in Russian)
- Vsevolod Pudovkin. Imprisoned by Time documentary by Russia-K, 2008 (in Russian)
- Legends of World Cinema documentary by Russia-K, 2014 (in Russian)