Lev Vladimirovich Kuleshov

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Kuleshov, Lev Vladimirovich


Born Jan. 1 (13), 1899, in Tambov; died Mar. 29,1970, in Moscow. Soviet motion-picture director, cinema theoretician, teacher, doctor of art studies (1946); People’s Artist of the RSFSR (1969). Member of the CPSU from 1945.

Kuleshov began his motion-picture career as a designer in 1916. A pioneer in Soviet cinema, he played a major role in exploring the unique aspects of cinematic art and in the development of cinematic language, montage, and the technology of shooting film. He directed documentary filming at the fronts in the Civil War of 1918-20, producing the propaganda film On the Red Front in 1920. Kuleshov organized a studio in the State Cinema School in 1919; his students included V. I. Pudovkin, B. V. Barnet, A. S. Khokhlova, and S. P. Komarov.

Kuleshov’s major films included Extraordinary Adventures of Mr. West in the Land of the Bolsheviks (1924), By the Law (1926; an adaptation of Jack London’s “The Unexpected”), and The Great Consoler (1933, on motifs from O. Henry’s biography). His motion pictures are marked by a tense plot, sharply defined roles, and high pictorial quality.

From 1944, Kuleshov concentrated on teaching at the All-Union State Institute of Cinematography: he was a professor there (1939) and headed the directing studio. Kuleshov wrote studies on the theory and practice of cinematic art, including The Fundamentals of Film Directing (1941), which was translated into many languages. He was awarded the Order of Lenin, the Order of the Red Banner of Labor, and a number of medals.


Praktika kinorezhissury. Moscow, 1935.
Azbuka kinorezhissury, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1969.


Levidov, M. lu. Lev Kuleshov. Moscow, 1927.
Pudovkin, V. “Masterskaia Kuleshova.” Iskusstvo kino, 1940, nos. 1-2.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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