Yelizaveta Ignatevna Svilova (Russian: Елизаве́та Игна́тьевна Сви́лова, rendered in Latin as Elizaveta Svilova) (5 September 1900, Moscow – 11 November 1975, Moscow) was a Russian filmmaker and film editor. She is perhaps best known for making films with her husband, Dziga Vertov, and her brother-in-law, Mikhail Kaufman. She is also known for her documentaries about World War II and for appearing in and editing Man with a Movie Camera.
Yelizaveta Ignatevna Svilova (born Elizaveta Schnitt) was born on September 5th in Moscow. Starting at age 14 she began film editing for Pathe. She met Dziga Vertov while working as a film editor. They married in 1924. After her husband fell out of favor in the Soviet film industry, Svilova continued to work in film and support the both of them. They continued to work together until Vertov's death from stomach cancer in 1954.
Though she started as an editor, Svilova moved away from doing fiction films and on to montage documentary. Her directorial debut was in 1942 with For You at the Front. The Fall of Berlin, a 1945 film, co directed by Yuli Raziman, won the 1946 Stalin prize.
Following her husband's death, Svilova left the industry. She carefully watched over her husband's legacy by publishing his writings and cataloguing his manuscripts. She died in 1975 in Moscow and is buried in Novodevichy Cemetery.
Council of Three
She was part of the "Council of Three," with her husband and brother-in-law, cinematographer Mikhail Kaufman. They were regarded as montage theorists and together, they "proclaimed a 'death sentence' on the cinema that came before, faulting it for mixing in 'foreign matter' from theater and literature."
The group is known for "pioneering montage documentary". Their 1929 film Man with a Movie Camera features Svilova editing film and Kaufman filming the movie. the film is regarded as "a landmark in experimental cinema".
Shortly after Man with a Movie Camera, Kaufman and Vertov had a falling out over artistic differences resulting in the two brothers never working together again. One suggested reason is prominence of Svilova in the film and her subsequent notoriety.
The trio was known for their avant-garde and futurist ideas. Vertov's work was condemned for being too formalist and not adhering to the socialist realism expectations of the time. In 1927 he was fired from Sovkino Studio. In the late 1930's it was nearly impossible for the Vertov to find work in the state run film industry.
World War II
She covered the opening of Auschwitz death camp in Poland by the Red Army in January 1945. She filmed a documentary, notably with reenactments, titled Auschwitz, part of an exhibition titled "Filming the War; the Soviets and the Holocaust (1941-1946)" (9 January 2015 – 27 September 2015) in Paris, France, at the Memorial de la Shoah.
In 1946 her film, Fascist Atrocities, was used as evidence in the Nuremberg Trials. She later co-directed a film about the trials with C. Svilov, condemning the warmongering and atrocities present in WWII.
|1920's||Kino-Pravda||23 issue newsreel series|
|1925||The First October Without Ilich||2nd Unit/Assistant Director|
|1926||A Sixth Part of the World||2nd Unit/Assistant Director|
|1926||Shagay, Sovet!||2nd Unit/Assistant Director|
|1928||The Oath of Youth||Director|
|1928||The Eleventh Year||2nd Unit/Assistant Director|
|1929||Man with a Movie Camera||Editor|
|1929||Enthusiasm||2nd Unit/Assistant Director|
|1934||Three Songs of Lenin||2nd Unit/Assistant Director, Order of the Red Star winner|
|1938||In Memory of Sergo Ordzhonikidze||Assistant Director|
|1942||For You at the Front||Director|
|1945||The Fall of Berlin||Director, won the 1946 Stalin Prize|
|1946||Parade of Youth||Director|
- Ebert, Roger (December 4, 2009). Man with camera invents new style. Chicago Sun-Times
- "Vintage Viewing: Elizaveta Svilova, Mastering Montage | Bitch Flicks". www.btchflcks.com. Retrieved 2017-12-22.
- "Elizaveta Svilova | Biography, Movie Highlights and Photos | AllMovie". AllMovie. Retrieved 2017-12-22.
- Lim, Dennis (April 8, 2011). Machine Age Poet, Born in Revolution, Stifled Under Stalin. New York Times
- "Elizaveta Svilova Biography | Fandango". Fandango. Retrieved 2017-12-22.
- "Svilova, Elizaveta (1900–1975) - Dictionary definition of Svilova, Elizaveta (1900–1975) | Encyclopedia.com: FREE online dictionary". www.encyclopedia.com. Retrieved 2017-12-22.
- Sayls, Rimgaila (2013). The Russian Cinema Reader: Volume II, The Thaw to the Present. Boston: Academic Studies Press. p. 180.
- "Elizaveta Svilova". IMDb. Retrieved 2017-12-22.
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