Kirsanoff, Dimitri

(1899-1957)
   Director. Born David Kaplan in Dorpat, Estonia, Dimitri Kirsanoff immigrated to Paris in 1920 with his family. He originally had intended to become a musician and studied music at the École Normale; however, he abandoned his musical studies for the cinema. Kirsanoff's interest in cinema came from his contact with the Parisian avant-garde, and his films would show that influence.
   Kirsanoff made his first film, L'Ironie du destin,in 1923. This film has been lost. It was followed in 1926 by Ménilmontant. The film is set in the Ménilmontant area of Paris, from which it takes its name, and foregrounds the difficulties of life for the city's poor as well as the difference small acts of compassion can make on a human life. It is probably Kirsanoff's best-known film. It embodies avant-garde aesthetics in the predominance of the visual image, in the use of rapid cutting and montage, and in the use of the handheld camera, and in some ways anticipates both the Nouvelle Vague or New Wave and neorealism. This film, like most of Kirsanoff's early films, stars his first wife, Nadia Sibirskaïa. It was followed by Sables (1927) and Destin (1927).
   In 1929, Kirsanoff released Brûmes d'automne, another experimental film in which a woman reflects on her past. Widely considered a classic of avant-garde cinema, it is one of Kirsanoff's best films, although less well known than Ménilmontant (1926). Other Kirsanoff films include Rapt (1933), Les Berceaux (1935), Visages de France (1936), Jeune fille au jardin (1936), La Fontaine d'Aréthuse (1936), Franco de port (1937), La Plus belle fille du monde (1938), Quartier sans soleil (1939), Deux amis (1946), Fait divers à Paris (1949), Arrière-saison (1950), Le Témoin de minuit (1953), Le Crâneur (1955), and Miss Catastrophe (1957). Most of these later films are unremarkable, with the possible exception of Rapt, Deux amis, and Arrière-saison. It is not surprising that a filmmaker known for his attention to the image might lose his way after the coming of sound. It seems this is what happened to Kirsanoff, with most of the later films being produced with an eye to commercial success rather than avant-garde poetics.
   Historical Dictionary of French Cinema by Dayna Oscherwitz & Mary Ellen Higgins

Guide to cinema. . 2011.

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  • Kirsanoff, Dimitri — (1899 1957)    Director. Born David Kaplan in Dorpat, Estonia, Dimitri Kirsanoff immigrated to Paris in 1920 with his family. He originally had intended to become a musician and studied music at the École Normale; however, he abandoned his… …   Historical Dictionary of French Cinema

  • Kirsanoff, Dimitri — (Marc David Kaplan / March 6, 1899, Dorpat, Russia February II, 1957, Paris, France)    He arrived in France with his family a few months after the Bolshevik Revolution. Having trained at the Ecole Normale de Musique of Paris, he became a… …   Encyclopedia of French film directors

  • Dimitri Kirsanoff — Born 6 March 1899 Tartu, Estonia (Russian Empire) Died 11 February 1957 Paris, France Cause of death Heart attack Nationality Russian (Latvian or …   Wikipedia

  • Dimitri Kirsanoff — est un réalisateur né le 6 mars 1899[1] à Riga en Russie[2] (maintenant en Lettonie) comme Marc Davidovitch Kaplan, et mort le 11 février 1957 à Paris (France). Sommaire …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Nadia Sibirskaïa — Germaine Marie Josèphe Lebas, dite Nadia Sibirskaïa, née le 11 septembre 1900 à Redon et morte le 14 juillet 1980 à Dinard est une actrice française. Filmographie 1923 : L Ironie du destin de Dimitri Kirsanoff 1924  …   Wikipédia en Français

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