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After D.W. Griffith, the most important figure in the history of the international cinema is Sergei Eisenstein. Both men died in 1948, but Eisenstein left a double legacy: not only was he one of the greatest filmmakers of all time, but he was also a magnificent film theorist, perhaps the most important one ever. This book of his essays, superbly translated and edited by Jay Leyda, reprints some of his most vital writings on the art of the cinema, including articles on the language and structure of the movies, the differences between theater and film, and the author's efforts to adapt Theodore Dreiser's An American Tragedy for the screen. In "The Cinematic Principle and the Ideogram," Eisenstein analyzes the written symbols of the Japanese language as a model for film editing. "Dickens, Griffith, and the Film Today," one of the author's most famous pieces, speaks of Griffith as a Dickensian director and then argues for a kind of filmmaking that transcends Griffith's literal style in order to touch its audience on an ideological and metaphorical level. This volume also includes the notorious "statement" on sound movies, which argues against the use of synchronous sound and in favor of jarring, contrapuntal audio that Eisenstein believed would add new dimensions to the talking picture. Idiosyncratic, engrossing, and brilliant, Eisenstein's essays will inspire you to reevaluate everything you thought you knew about the movies. [via]