Pudovkin, Vsevolod Illarionovich
Born Feb. 16 (28), 1893, in Penza; died June 30,1953, in Moscow. Soviet film director and theoretician. People’s Artist of the USSR (1948). Member of the CPSU from 1939.
Pudovkin graduated from the department of natural sciences of the faculty of physics and mathematics at Moscow State University in 1914. In 1920 he entered the State Motion Picture School (now the All-Union State Institute of Cinematography). While a student, he began working as a director, actor, and writer of screenplays. His first films were Chess Fever (1925, with N. G. Shpikovskii) and the popular-science film Mechanics of the Brain (1926). His screen version of M. Gorky’s novel Mother (1926) ranks with Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin as one of the major achievements of Soviet cinematography. It was followed by The End of St. Petersburg (1927) and DescendedFrom Genghis Khan (1929; shown abroad as Storm Over Asia). Both these films dealt with the revolutionary awakening of the popular masses. Pudovkin contributed to the development of the film epic, which created a poetic image of the struggling masses.
In the 1930’s, Pudovkin directed films that experimented with new expressive means: the silent film A Simple Case (1932) and the sound films The Deserter (1933) and Victory (1938). Soviet historical cinematography was greatly influenced by his Minin and Pozharskii (1939; State Prize of the USSR, 1941), Suvorov (1941), and Admiral Nakhimov (1947; State Prize of the USSR, 1947). During the Great Patriotic War of 1941–45, Pudovkin directed Feast at Zhirmunka (Military Short Film Series, no. 6, 1941) and In the Name of the Fatherland (1943, adapted from K. M. Simonov’s play The Russian People). In 1950, together with D. I. Vasil’ev, he directed Zhukovskii (State Prize of the USSR, 1951). His last work was The Return of Vasilii Bortnikov (1953; adapted from G. E. Nikolaeva’s novel The Harvest).
Pudovkin was also a film actor. His roles included Protasov in The Living Corpse (1929) and the Holy Fool in Ivan the Terrible (1945). Many of Pudovkin’s films won prizes at international film festivals. His published works include The Film Director and Film Sources (1926), The Film Scenario and Its Theory (1926), Film Acting (1934), and theoretical articles. These works have been translated into many languages and are studied in schools of cinematography throughout the world. Pudovkin was a member of the Soviet Committee for the Defense of Peace. He received two Orders of Lenin, three other orders, and several medals.
WORKSIzbrannye stat’i. Moscow, 1955.
REFERENCESIezuitov, N. M. Pudovkin: Puti tvorchestva. Moscow-Leningrad, 1937.
Iutkevich, S. “Rezhisserskoe masterstvo Vs. Pudovkina v fil’me Mat’.” Uch. zap. Vsesoiuznogo gos. instituta kinemalografii, issue 1. Moscow, 1959.
Karaganov, A. Vsevolod Pudovkin. Moscow, 1973.
A. V. KARAGANOV