Yevgeni Bauer

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Yevgeni Franzevich Bauer
(Евгений Францевич Бауэр)
Yevgeni Bauer.jpg
Born 1865
Moscow, Russian Empire (now Russia)
Died June 22, 1917
Yalta, Russian Empire
(now Ukraine)
Occupation Film director, screenwriter
Years active 1913–1917

Yevgeni Franzevich Bauer (Russian: Евгений Францевич Бауэр) (1865 – 22 June [O.S. 9 June] 1917) was a Russian film director of silent films, a theatre artist and a screenwriter. His work had a great influence on the aesthetics of Russian cinematography at the beginning of the 20th century.

Bauer made more than seventy films between 1913 and 1917 of which 26 survived. He already used relatively long sequence shots and displacements of camera virtuosos. Los Angeles Times film critic Kenneth Turan called Bauer "The greatest director you've never heard of."[citation needed]

Biography[edit]

Bauer was born in Moscow in 1865, the son of the Russified Bohemian musician Franz Bauer and his wife, an operatic singer. From childhood, Bauer displayed artistic tendencies, and participated in his favourite dramatised scenes (his sister was a professional actress).

In 1887, Bauer graduated from the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. He tried out a number of different professions, first working as a caricaturist, drawing satirical sketches for the press. He then became a master of art photography, before moving to work in the theatre, as a producer, an impresario, and a professional set designer. In the 1890s he married the actress and dancer Lina Ancharovna, whose surname he used during the First World War when he went under the pseudonym of Evgeni Ancharov, feeling that his own surname was "too German".

Even in these early years, Bauer was attracted to cinematography and started to work as an artistic producer and director. His first work in the cinema was an order for set decorations for the film "300 Years of the House of Romanov" (1913), produced by Alexander Drankov's film company. After this, Bauer worked for Drankov as a producer and made four films. He then made another four films for the Moscow branch of the French company Pathé Brothers, and then finally started to work for the Khanzhonkov company, which at that time was the unspoken leader in Russian cinematography.

From the end of 1913 to the start of 1917, Bauer made more than 80 films, of which less than half remain today. Bauer worked mainly in the genres of social and psychological drama (although he also made comedies), such as Tears, After Death (both 1915), A Life for a Life (1916), and The Revolutionary (1917). He worked with the leading actors of Russian silent cinema, including Ivan Mozzhukhin, Vera Kholodnaya, Vitold Polonsky, Ivan Perestiani, Vera Karalli and others.

In 1917, Bauer and the Khanzhonkov company moved to a new studio in Yalta, where he made the film For Happiness with the young actor Lev Kuleshov. Bauer broke his leg on the set, and had to work on his next film, The King of Paris, from a bathchair. However, Bauer started to suffer from complications relating to pneumonia and could not complete this film. On 22 June 1917, Bauer died in a Yalta hospital. His final film was completed by actress Olga Rakhmanova.

Significance and Influence[edit]

Bauer is considered a leading stylist of Russian silent cinematography and placed particular emphasis on the pictorial aspect of film-making. He is considered a master of psychological drama, and also one of the first Russian directors who developed the artistic side of cinema including montage, mise-en-scene and the composition of the frame. He made great use of his theatrical experience when making his films, the outcomes of which occasionally prefigured future achievements in cinema. Bauer would first start to consider the placing of lights on the film-set and changed the lighting during the filming, used unusual filming angles, made frequent use of wide spaces, and filmed through "gaseous" material to produce the effect of fog. He placed great emphasis on the composition of each shot, constructing decor and natural shots with artistic expressions of classical landscapes, made use of camera movement to widen the space of the shot, and add a dramatic effect. Bauer's artistic experiments and outstanding expertise gave him a reputation of the leading director in Russian cinema.

Selected filmography[edit]

  • 1913 - Dyadushkin's Apartment (with Pyotr Chardynin)
  • 1913 - The Twilight of a Woman's Soul
  • 1914 - The Post Troika Races Along
  • 1914 - The Free Bird
  • 1914 - The Child of the Big City
  • 1914 - Her Heroic Feat
  • 1914 - Life and Death
  • 1914 - Silent Witnesses
  • 1914 - Glory to Us, Death to the Enemies
  • 1914 - Tears
  • 1915 - Dreams
  • 1915 - The Children of the Century
  • 1915 - Heavenly Wings
  • 1915 - The Song of Triumphant Love
  • 1915 - The Vanquisher of Women's Hearts
  • 1915 - After Death
  • 1915 - The Happiness of Eternal Night
  • 1915 - The Thousand and Second Cunning
  • 1916 - The Old Wrestler's Grief
  • 1916 - A Life for a Life
  • 1916 - The Queen of the Screen
  • 1917 - Alarm
  • 1917 - The Revolutionary
  • 1917 - The Dying Swan
  • 1917 - For Happiness
  • 1917 - The King of Paris

External links[edit]