Dimitri Kirsanoff  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Dimitri Kirsanoff (6 March 1899 – 11 February 1957) was an early filmmaker, considered part of the French Impressionist movement in film. He is known for his inexpensively made experimental films such as Ménilmontant.


Early life

Kirsanoff was born Mark Davidovich Kaplan (Марк Давидович Каплан) in Russia in 1899. His death certificate allegedly states his birthplace as Riga (now the capital of Latvia), although most other sources indicate Dorpat (now Tartu, Estonia). In the early 1920s he moved to Paris and became involved in cinema through playing cello in the orchestra at showings. He began making films on his own, and never worked with a production company.


Kirsanoff's best known work is Ménilmontant (1926), which takes its name from the Paris neighborhood of the same name. The film is a silent, but does not contain any intertitles. It begins with a flurry of quick close-up shots depicting the axe murder of the parents of the protagonists, two girls. As young women, they are portrayed by Nadia Sibirskaïa, Kirsanoff's first wife, and Yolande Beaulieu; their mutual love interest is played by Guy Belmont. The film uses many other techniques that were relatively new at the time, including double exposure.


  • L'ironie du destin (1923)
  • Ménilmontant (1926)
  • Sables (1927)
  • Destin (1927)
  • Brumes d'automne (1929)
  • Rapt: la séparation des races (1934)
  • Les berceaux (1935)
  • Visages de France (1936)
  • La fontaine d'Aréthuse (1936)
  • La jeune fille au jardin (1936)
  • Franco de port (1937)
  • La plus belle fille du monde ne peut donner que ce qu'elle a (1938)
  • L'avion de minuit (1938)
  • Quartier sans soleil (1939, released 1945)
  • Deux amis (1946)
  • Faits divers à Paris (1950)
  • Arrière-saison (1950)
  • La mort du cerf: une chasse à courre à Villiers-Cotterets (1951)
  • Le témoin de minuit (1953)
  • Le crâneur (1955)
  • Ce soir les jupons volent (1956)
  • Miss Catastrophe (1957)

See Also

Boris Kaufman Silvia Monfort List of films made in France 1919-1940 Rapt

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Dimitri Kirsanoff" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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