Monday, 22 March 2010
In Naum Kleiman's lecture yesterday (summarised in the last blog) he mentioned a meeting of his with the eccentric German Jewish dancer and film actress Valeska Gert (she was to play in Pabst 'Diary of a Lost Girl' and be rediscovered by Fellini who found her a role in his 'Giuletta of the Spirits' she would, then, also act in films by Schlondorf and Fassbinder). She told Kleiman that Eisenstein was one of only five people she had ever loved in her life. Although she played no part in the history of Soviet cinema apart from her liasion with Eisenstein, it is curious to discover how extraneous influences can be significant in trying to understand early Soviet cinema. Kleiman explained that little has been noted of the influence of German eccentric dance on such actors like Igor Ilinsky. He has always been seen as an example of 'americanitis' in 1920s Soviet cinema and yet there seems to be a whole new avenue of research opening up in discovering whether the style of acting that Ilinsky symbolised (one of Meyerhold's greatest student actors who was to play an essential role in Soviet cinema)did not owe a significant debt to German eccentrism.
A short piece on Valeska Gert can be found here on another blog for those who would like to learn a little more about this fascinating character http://strangeflowers.wordpress.com/2010/01/11/the-grotesque-burlesque-of-valeska-gert/
The wikipedia entry on her is available here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valeska_Gert
A wonderful series of photographs of Gert by Mark B. Astendig is available to look at here (the smaller photograph under the title is one of these outstanding photographs by Mark B. Astendig) http://anstendig.com/Valeska%20Gert/gert_page.html