Yevgeny Bauer

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Yevgeny Bauer (Russia, 1865), the son of an Austrian man (a court musician for the czar), rose to prominence designing the lavish sets for Tryokhsotletie Tsarstvovaniya Doma Romanovykh / The Tercentenary of the Rule of the House of Romanov (1913), produced by Alexander Drankov and Aleksey Taldykin and directed by Nikolai Larin and Aleksandr Uralsky.

Bauer turned to filmmaking when he was already 48 but he ranks as Russia's first cinematic artist, directing first for Drankov, notably the 48-minute Sumerki Zhenskoj Dushi/ Twilight of a Woman's Soul (1913), photographed by Nikolai Kozlovsky (the cameraman of Drankov's pioneering Stenka Razin, 1908), in which a woman kills the man who raped her, is abandoned by her fiance' and becomes an opera star, and then for Khanzhonkov, aided by photographer Boris Zavelev, including the 37-minute Ditya bolshogo goroda/ Child of the Big City (1914), about a femme fatale (an orphan raised in poverty) who leads her lover (a rich man) to suicide, the 40-minute Zhizn v Smerti/ Life in Death (1914), in which a man kills his beautiful wife and embalms her so that her beauty will last forever, a film emblematic of his passion for "decadent" and gothic stories, Nemye Svideteli/ Silent Witnesses (1914), Slava Nam Smert Vagram/ Glory to Us Death to the Enemy (1914), starring Ivan Mozzhukhin, the 37-minute Grjozy/ Daydreams (1915), which is possibly his best, another decadent story in which a man so obsessed with his dead wife marries a woman who looks like her double but finds out that she's a devil and kills her, the 41-minute Za Schastem/ For Happiness (1917), and Revoliutsioner/ The Revolutionary (1917), about a revolutionary exiled to Siberia in 1907 and liberated in 1917 just before Lenin's coup.

From the beginning Bauer employed lighting effects and framing preferences that were influenced by Danish cinema (e.g. by Urban Gad).

Bauer directed ballerina Vera Karalli in Schaste Vechnoj Nochi/ The Happiness of Eternal Night (1915), in the 46-minute Posle Smerti/ After Death (1915), an adaptation of Turgenev's ghost story "Klara Milich", and in the 46-minute Umirajushhij Lebed/ The Dying Swan (1917), again from Turgenev, again a morbid decadent story of lust and murder.

He also directed the serial Irina Kirsanova (1915, lost).

Bauer directed the movies that turned Vera Kholodnaya into the first movie star of Russian silent cinema: Deti Veka/ Children of the Age (1915), Plamya Neba/ Flame of the Sky (1915, lost), Pesn Torzhestvuyushchey Lyubvi/ Song of Triumphant Love (1915, lost) and the 67-minute Zhizn zo Zhizn/ A Life for a Life (1916), based on a French novel by Georges Ohnet and perhaps his delirious apex as a set designer.

Bauer died in 1917. Bauer directed more than 80 movies in little more than four years.

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