Glumov's Diary (Sergei Eisenstein, 1923, Soviet Union)

Glumov's Diary is 1923 short by Sergei Eisenstein. It was the first film directed by Sergei Eisenstein and represents his transition from a theater director to a film director. It is based on a theater comedy from 1868. The film opens with a street scene. Suddenly a man with a top hat is atop a tall building. He is calling out to others. We see his top-hat resting above a spire. He emerges from a window in the building and begins scaling it with a rope. The scaling of the building continues as the man with the top hat and eye mask ascends.

We return to the street, where a large crowd has gathered. Men in a vehicle look up, and the man in the top hat falls into their car. We see various shots of our main character as a clown, and he appears in a woman's outfit. There is now a tank on the street with the two clowns. The clowns jump around the tank. 

Meanwhile, another clown figure is on the street as a parade goes by. We see a woman who emerges. The clown appears before here, and she at first seems to ignore her. The clown turns into a baby, which she picks up. This shifts to another space where the clowns have set up shop. We get more acrobatics and transformations - this time one of the clowns transforms into a donkey.

The film concludes with what seems to be a mock marriage between two clown figures. Another group of clowns makes a series of grimaces and the film ends. Glumov's Diary stylistically seems very indebted to the great Georges Melies, with its emphasis on camera trickery and transformations using camera effects. It is an interesting early effort from Eisenstein before he made his landmark Battleship Potemkin.



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