GREAT CINEMATOGRAPHERS


 

   


EDUARD TISSE

 

Born: 13 April 1897, Liepaja [Litan/Libau], Russian Empire [now Latvia], as Eduard Kazimirovich Tisse [a.k.a: Edward Tissé] [Эдуард Казимирович Тиссэ].

Died: 18 November 1961, Moscow, USSR.

Career: Left the Navy College in 1913 to study photography and painting with E. Graenzinger in Stockholm, Sweden. Started career as cameraman in 1914. 1916-18: filmed at the front during WW1. 1918-21: shot around 200 newsreels highlighting the Bolshevik revolution for the Central Film Committee. He traveled in a so-called 'agit train' which contained a printing-plant, a theatre company and a film crew. Became professor at the State Technicum of Cinema [GTK, later VGIK], Moscow, in 1921. In 1926 [March-April] he and Sergei Eisenstein visited the UFA Studios in Berlin to study western cinematography. In August 1929, he, Eisenstein and Grigori Aleksandrov went to Western Europe where they had to earn their way by doing all kinds of film jobs, e.g. an advertising film for beer with actors Emil Jannings and George Bancroft. In May 1930, the trio proceeded to Hollywood where they developed projects ['The Glass House', 'Sutter's Gold', 'An American Tragedy', etc.] for Paramount Pictures. December 1930: Tisse and Eisenstein arrived in Mexico to start the prod of ¡Qué Viva México!, financed by novelist Upton Sinclair. The Soviet authorities ordered them to return home in March 1932.

Appeared in the doc's 'The Secret Life of Sergei Eisenstein' [1987, Gian Carlo Bertelli; ph: Louis Pigazzini] & 'Sergei Eisenstein. Meksikanskaya fantasiya/[Sergei Eisenstein.] Mexican Fantasy' [1998].

Awards: Locarno IFF [1946; shared] for 'Ivan Groznyj I'.


Co-dir + ph: "The Immortal Garrison"


Grigori Aleksandrov - Sergei Eisenstein - Walt Disney - E. Tisse [1925]

 

Eduard Tisse is best known for his work with director Sergei Eisenstein. Tisse was, however, among the pioneers of the Soviet cinema, working with such people as Vertov and Pudovkin before his long, successful partnership with Eisenstein began. His early career as a newsreel cameraman earned him a reputation as both a skilled and fearless technician.

Tisse photographed what is sometimes referred to as the first 'Soviet' feature film - director Aleksandr Arkatov's 'Signal'. The film was the first feature produced by the Moscow branch of the Cinema Committee, the first Soviet Russia film organization.

In 1924, Tisse was selected to photograph Eisenstein's first film, 'Stachka/Strike'. The realization of 'Strike' was due to a great extent to Tisse. He not only possessed the technical knowledge which Eisenstein lacked at the time, but also understood and agreed with the director's 'montage of attractions'. The partnership continued to develop with the shooting of Eisenstein's second feature, 'Bronenosets Potyomkin/[Battleship] Potemkin'. Tisse was inspired to further experimentation with the technology at his disposal to make Eisenstein's artistic vision a filmic reality. For the Odessa Steps sequence, Tisse set up a camera trolley the length of the steps, creating one of the first dolly shots in Russian film history.

During the late 1920s and early 1930s Tisse left Russia to travel with Eisenstein through Europe, America, and Mexico. The official reason for the trip was the study of sound film techniques in other countries. In addition to this pursuit, other projects were undertaken. Much time was devoted to researching and filming Eisenstein's never completed ¡Qué Viva México!.

Upon returning to Russia, Tisse resumed his experimentation with tone and emotional tension begun in earlier films. He had previously used shades of light and darkness and different degrees of soft focus to create emotional tension. He perfected these techniques during Eisenstein's sound film period. Tisse's mastery of tonal composition is best demonstrated in 'Aleksandr Nevsky/Alexander Nevsky'. In one exemplary sequence the choice of lenses and the use of a special filter transformed the atmosphere of a hot July day into the Battle on the Ice. In this particular scene Tisse also slowed down the hand-cranked camera to control the rhythm and the tension of the battle. [From article by Marie Saeli.]


 

 FILMS

1918

Signal [Aleksandr Arkatov] b&w; 600mtr; cph: Piotr Novitsky & I. Dored

192?

?/It Needn't Be This [Boris Chaikovsky] b&w

1921

Serp i molot/Sickle and Hammer [Vladimir Gardin] b&w; 1500mtr

1921

Golod... golod... golod/Hunger... Hunger... Hunger [Vladimir Gardin & Vsevolod Pudovkin] b&w; 500mtr

1923

Starets Vasili Gryaznov/Elder Vasili Gryaznov [Cheslav Sabinsky] b&w; 58m

1924

Stachka/Strike [Sergei Eisenstein] b&w; cph: Viktor Khvatov; part 5 of proposed 7-part series 'Towards Dictatorship of the Proletariat'

1924

Kinopravda 21 [Dziga Vertov] b&w; doc/29m; cph: Mikhail Kaufman, Aleksandr Lemberg & Aleksandr Levitsky

1924

Zolotoy zapas/The Gold Reserve [Vladimir Gardin] b&w; 66m

1925

Jewrejskoje Stschastje/Jidische Glickn/Jewish Luck/The Matchmaker/Menachem Mendel [Alexei Granowsky] b&w; cph: Viktor Khvatov & I. Strukov

1925

Bronenosets 'Potyomkin' [- 1905 god]/Battleship Potemkin [Sergei Eisenstein] b&w

1925

Medvezhya svadba/[The Legend of] the Bear's Wedding/The Marriage of the Bear [Konstantin Eggert & Vladimir Gardin] b&w; prologue ph; ph: Piotr Ermolov

1926

Staroye i novoye/Old and New/Generalnaya liniya/The General Line [Sergei Eisenstein] b&w; prod was halted temporarily in favor of the 'Oktyabr'-project; shooting resumed in June 1928; add shooting in April-May 1929

1927

Oktyabr' [- Desyat' dney, kotoryye potryasli mir]/October [- Ten Days That Shook the World] [Sergei Eisenstein] b&w; cph: Vladimir Nilsen; shooting March-September; + small part

1929

Giftgas [Mikhail Dubson] b&w; consultation; ph: Akos Farkas

1929

Frauennot - Frauenglück: Das Hohelied der ärztlichen Kunst/Misery and Fortune of Women/Women's Misery - Women's Happiness/Woman's Joy Is Woman's Woe [Eduard Tisse (assisted by Sergei Eisenstein)] b&w; short/21m; 3 dram seq (+ doc seq ph by Emil Berna)

1929

The Storming of La Sarraz [Sergei Eisenstein & Hans Richter] b&w; negative is lost

1930

Sentimental'nyy romans/Romance sentimentale/Sentimental Romance [Sergei Eisenstein & (finished the film) Grigori Aleksandrov] b&w; short/20m

1931

La destrucción de Oaxaca/El desastre en Oaxaca [Sergei Eisenstein] b&w; doc/12m; + co-scrpl

1931

¡Qué Viva México! [Sergei Eisenstein] b&w; originally planned as a film with 7 chapters: 'Prologue', 'Conquest', 'Sandunga', 'Fiesta', 'Maguey', 'Soldadera' & 'Epilogue'; filming started in December 1930, prod shut down in January 1932; several films (*) were edited from this footage

1933

Thunder Over Mexico [Sergei Eisenstein] b&w; 70m; edited from the 'Maguey' footage; post-prod: Sol Lesser *

1933

Eisenstein in Mexico [Sergei Eisenstein] b&w; doc/50m; post-prod: Sol Lesser *

1933

Maxim Maximovich Maximov [Sergei Eisenstein] prod planned, but halted

1934

Death Day [Sergei Eisenstein] b&w; short/17m; post-prod: Sol Lesser *

1935

Moscow [Sergei Eisenstein] prod was abandoned after the death of screenwriter Nathan Zarkhi

1935

Aerograd/Air City/Frontier [Aleksandr Dovzhenko] b&w; cph: Mikhail Gindin & N. Smirnov; restored in 1971

1935

Bezhin lug/Bezhin Meadow [Sergei Eisenstein] b&w; short/31m; cph: Vladimir Nilsen; prod halted in October 1935 because Eisenstein contracted smallpox; shooting resumed in August 1936; prod finished in 1937, but film was banned and shelved; most footage was destroyed during WW2, but the prod was reconstructed in the mid-1960s

 

 

1938

Aleksandr Nevsky/Alexander Nevsky [Sergei Eisenstein] b&w; was withdrawn from circulation in August 1939

1939

The Great Ferghana Canal [Sergei Eisenstein] after ph tests in June-July, the prod was halted; the test footage was edited into a doc

1940

Time In the Sun [Sergei Eisenstein] b&w; doc/55m *

1943

Seeds of Freedom [Sergei Eisenstein & Hans Burger] b&w; ph 'Potemkin' seq (1925); ph: William J. Kelly

 

 

1943

Ivan Groznyy (1-ya seriya)/Ivan Groznyj (I)/Ivan the Terrible (, Part One) [Sergei Eisenstein] b&w; ext ph; int ph: Andrei Moskvin; 2uc: Viktor Dombrovsky; filmed April 1943 & January-June 1944; editing completed in June 1944

1944

Ivan Groznyy (2-ya seriya)/Ivan Groznyj (II): Boyarsky zagovor/Ivan the Terrible (, Part II): The Boyars' Plot [Sergei Eisenstein] b&w-c; ext ph; int ph + ph color seq: Andrei Moskvin; 2uc: Viktor Dombrovsky; filmed 1943-45; editing completed in January 1946; banned and shelved by the authorities; released in 1958

1944

Ivan Groznyj (III) [Sergei Eisenstein] draft editing of 4 reels in January 1946; footage destroyed by the authorities in August 1946

1946

V gorakh Yugoslavii/In the Mountains of Yugoslavia [Abram Room] b&w

1947

Vozvrashcheniye s pobedoj/Victorious Return [Aleksandr Ivanov] b&w

1949

Vstrecha na Elbe/Meeting on the Elbe [Grigori Aleksandrov] b&w-c; cph: Nikolay Renkov; restored in 1965

1952

Kompozitor Glinka/Man of Music [Grigori Aleksandrov] c

1953

Serebristaya pyl/Silver Dust [Abram Room] b&w

1956

Bessmertnyj garnizon/The Immortal Garrison [Eduard Tisse & Zakhar Agranenko] b&w

1978

¡Qué Viva México! - Da zdravstvuyet Meksika!/Qué Viva México [Sergei Eisenstein & (reconstruction) Grigori Aleksandrov] b&w; doc/90m; released in 1979 *

1998

Sergei Eisenstein. Meksikanskaya fantasiya/[Sergei Eisenstein.] Mexican Fantasy [Oleg Kovalov] b&w; doc/100m; cph: Yevgeni Shermergor; + appearance *

 

 FILMS AS DIRECTOR

1929

Frauennot - Frauenglück: Das Hohelied der ärztlichen Kunst/Misery and Fortune of Women/Women's Misery - Women's Happiness/Woman's Joy Is Woman's Woe [+ cph] see Films

1956

Bessmertnyj garnizon/The Immortal Garrison [co-dir; + ph] see Films