Ignatiy Vishnevetsky

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Ignatiy Vishnevetsky
Born Ignatiy Igorevich Vishnevetsky
(1986-09-05) September 5, 1986 (age 27)
Moscow, USSR (present day Moscow, Russia)
Occupation Film critic, essayist
Nationality Russian
Citizenship Russia[1]
Spouse Theresa Roberts

Ignatiy Vishnevetsky (Russian: Игна́тий И́горевич Вишневе́цкий; born September 5, 1986 [2] in Moscow, Soviet Union[3]) is a Russian-born United States-based film critic and essayist. He works as a critic for the film website Mubi.com, is an occasional contributor to the Chicago Reader,[4][5] and has been a contributing film critic for The A.V. Club since May 2013.[6]

Vishnevetsky co-hosted Roger Ebert Presents: At the Movies, a nationally syndicated film criticism television show,[7] with Christy Lemire.[8]


Vishnevetsky was born in Moscow, U.S.S.R., the son of Russian poet Igor Vishnevetsky,[1] and moved to the United States at the age of 8, following his parents' divorce.[7][9]

He lived with his father, stepmother, and stepbrother in Decatur, Georgia, and, four years later, relocated to Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, where he graduated from Wauwatosa East High School[10] and then moved to Chicago,[7][10] where he briefly attended Columbia College Chicago, studying Film Directing.[4]

Before working as a film critic, Vishnevetsky worked as a translator,[7] movie theater usher and laundromat attendant.[4] Beginning in 2004, he became involved with Chicago's cinephile community, many of whose members he met through the video rental store "Odd Obsession".[11] He was involved in a screening space called North Western Avenue, whose participants later co-founded the film website Cine-File.info,[11] to which Vishnevetsky continues to contribute.[12] In 2006, Vishnevetsky wrote and directed a 45-minute short film;[12][13] he also served as the film's editor and cinematographer. Soon after a final cut was completed, a hard drive failure destroyed much of the footage.[12] In an interview with the podcast Film in Focus, Vishnevetsky stated that the experience lead him to pursue film criticism full-time.[12] Vishnevetsky published a film zine called Zero for Conduct[5][12] before joining the NYU-based[12] film journal Tisch Film Review and then MUBI.[5]

In the fall of 2010, he was approached by Roger Ebert and his wife, Chaz Ebert, about auditioning for their new television show, Ebert Presents: At the Movies.[12] After several months of auditions, Vishnevetsky was announced as the show's co-host alongside Christy Lemire.[4][8] Vishnevetsky replaced critic Elvis Mitchell, who had appeared in the show's pilot but left the production for undisclosed reasons.[4][8]

In March 2013, Vishnevetsky announced that he'll be writing and directing his own film, starring Allison Torem, Stephen Cone, and Mallory Nees.

Personal life[edit]

Vishnevetsky lives in Chicago with his wife,[9] Theresa Roberts, a sculptor and installation artist. He remains a Russian citizen.[1]


He has described himself as "more of an optimist for the future of cinema than for the future of movies", stating that in his view the two were not synonymous. Comparing Vishnevetsky with his co-host, Christy Lemire, Time writer Steven James Snyder wrote that Lemire was "more preoccupied with finesse and plot points", while Vishnevetsky was "more interested in structure, experimentation and mood".[14]

In the February 11, 2011 episode of Ebert presents At the Movies, Vishnevetsky stated that the greatest influence on his work as a critic was Jean-Luc Godard's video project Histoire(s) du cinéma. In the same episode, he named the silent films True Heart Susie and Foolish Wives; the Holocaust documentary Shoah; and Jacques Tati's Play Time as the movies that made him want to become a film critic. In a blog post presented as an "appendix" to the episode, he revealed that he writes the majority of his film criticism by hand and will sometimes "edit together" essays out of notes and parts of unpublished texts.[15]