Ignatiy Vishnevetsky

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Ignatiy Vishnevetsky
Native name
Игнатий Вишневецкий
BornIgnatiy Igorevich Vishnevetsky
(1986-09-05) September 5, 1986 (age 36)
Moscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
(present-day Russia)
  • Film critic
  • essayist
  • Russia
  • United States
Theresa Roberts
(m. 2011)
ParentsIgor Vishnevetsky (father)

Ignatiy Igorevich Vishnevetsky (/ɪɡˈnɑːti ˌvɪʃnəˈvɛtski/;[1] Russian: Игнатий Игоревич Вишневецкий; born September 5, 1986)[2] is a Russian-American film critic, essayist, and columnist. He has worked as a staff film critic for The A.V. Club and written for Mubi.com and the Chicago Reader.[3][4][5]

Vishnevetsky co-hosted Roger Ebert Presents: At the Movies, a nationally syndicated film criticism television show,[6] with Christy Lemire.[7]

Early life and education[edit]

Vishnevetsky was born in Moscow, the son of Russian poet Igor Vishnevetsky.[8][9] He has said that his paternal ancestors were Don Cossacks, and he is of Polish and Jewish descent through his maternal ancestry.[10] He moved to the United States at the age of eight, following his parents' divorce.[6][11] Although he did not formally study English in school while living in Russia, Vishnevetsky claims that he learned the language "entirely from TV and American TV commercials I watched constantly".[8]

He lived with his father, stepmother, and stepbrother in Decatur, Georgia, and, four years later, relocated to Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, where he graduated from Wauwatosa East High School[12] and then moved to Chicago,[6][12] where he briefly attended Columbia College Chicago, studying film directing.[4]


Before working as a film critic, Vishnevetsky worked as a translator,[6] movie theater usher, and laundromat attendant.[4] Beginning in 2004, he became involved with Chicago's cinephile community, many of whose members he met through the now-defunct video rental store Odd Obsession.[13] [14] He was involved in a screening space called North Western Avenue, whose participants later co-founded the film website Cine-File.info, to which Vishnevetsky contributed.[13][15]

In 2006, Vishnevetsky wrote and directed a 45-minute short film;[15][16] he also served as the film's film editor and cinematographer. Soon after a final cut was completed, a hard drive failure destroyed much of the footage.[15] In an interview with the podcast Film in Focus, Vishnevetsky stated that the experience led him to pursue film criticism full-time.[15] Vishnevetsky published a film zine called Zero for Conduct[5][15] before joining the NYU-based[15] film journal Tisch Film Review and then MUBI.[5]

In the fall of 2010, he was approached by Roger Ebert and his wife, Chaz Ebert, about auditioning for their new television show, Ebert Presents: At the Movies.[15] After several months of auditions, Vishnevetsky was announced as the show's co-host alongside Christy Lemire.[4][7] Vishnevetsky replaced critic Elvis Mitchell, who had appeared in the show's pilot but left the production for undisclosed reasons.[4][7]

Vishnevetsky's directed a short film, Ellie Lumme, which premiered in 2014.[17]

Critical style[edit]

He has described himself as "more of an optimist for the future of cinema than for the future of movies", stating that in his view the two were not synonymous. Comparing Vishnevetsky with his co-host, Christy Lemire, Time writer Steven James Snyder wrote that Lemire was "more preoccupied with finesse and plot points", while Vishnevetsky was "more interested in structure, experimentation and mood".[18]


In the February 11, 2011 episode of Ebert presents At the Movies, Vishnevetsky stated that the greatest influence on his work as a critic was Jean-Luc Godard's video project Histoire(s) du cinéma. In the same episode, he named the silent films True Heart Susie and Foolish Wives; the Holocaust documentary Shoah; and Jacques Tati's Playtime as the movies that made him want to become a film critic. In a blog post presented as an "appendix" to the episode, he revealed that he writes the majority of his film criticism by hand and will sometimes "edit together" essays out of notes and parts of unpublished texts.[19]

Vishnevetsky participated in the 2012 Sight & Sound critics' poll, where he listed ten of his favorite films as follows: Blow Out, Days of Being Wild, Dead or Alive 2: Birds, Hotel America, The Lady from Shanghai, Modern Romance, Mysteries of Lisbon, Red Viburnum, RoboCop, and Some Came Running.[20] Vishnevetsky compiled his list by writing 90 of his favorite titles on scraps of paper and then drawing ten from a bowl.

Personal life[edit]

Vishnevetsky has retained his Russian citizenship,[8] and obtained American citizenship in 2017.[21] He lived in Chicago with his wife,[11] Theresa Roberts, a sculptor and installation artist. They married on January 10, 2011,[8][22] and have two children together.[23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Our critics address Captain America: Civil War and the state of the Marvel union. The A.V. Club. May 6, 2016. Event occurs at 0:14. Retrieved September 4, 2016.
  2. ^ Vishnevetsky, Ignatiy Time Indefinite: "A Talk with Sergei Loznitsa", Mubi
  3. ^ AV Club articles by Ignatiy Vishnevetsky
  4. ^ a b c d e Zeitchek, Steven "Who is Ignatiy Vishnevetsky?", The L.A. Times
  5. ^ a b c Kohn, Eric. FUTURES: At the Movies co-host Ignatiy Vishnevetsky Indiewire
  6. ^ a b c d Ebert, Roger "Roger Ebert's Journal: Ebert Presents at the Movies" Archived January 9, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, Chicago Sun-Times
  7. ^ a b c Braun, Liz "Ebert chooses 2nd host for 'Movies'", The Toronto Sun
  8. ^ a b c d Stingl, Jim. "From Stingl's kitchen to Ebert's orbit", Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
  9. ^ Christopher, Rob "And the Co-Host of Roger Ebert Presents Is...", The Chicagoist
  10. ^ Vishnevetsky, Ignatiy [@Vishnevetsky] (July 12, 2020). "Jokes aside, my ancestors were Don Cossacks who adopted the name. Unfortunately, I am still descended from wretched Polish nobility on my mother's side" (Tweet). Retrieved March 5, 2022 – via Twitter.
  11. ^ a b Metz, Nina. "Roger Ebert is back on TV, with a new man on deck", Chicago Tribune
  12. ^ a b Dudek, Duane "At The Movies hosts a Wauwatosa East alum", Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
  13. ^ a b Cuddy, Allison. "Young Chicago critic tapped to host Roger Ebert Presents at the Movies" Archived January 22, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, WBEZ
  14. ^ "The death of a video store: A former clerk on Chicago's Odd Obsession".
  15. ^ a b c d e f g "Episode 128: Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, Pt. 1." Podcast. Film in Focus. December 7, 2011.
  16. ^ Cangialosi, Jason. Interview with Ignatiy Vishnevetsky. Yahoo! Movies.
  17. ^ Metz, Nina. Underground films see the light through fest. The Chicago Tribune.
  18. ^ Snyder, Steven James. "Roger Ebert's New TV Show: Two New Thumbs, One Overdue Comeback", Time.
  19. ^ Vishnevetsky, Ignatiy. "Appendix to Episode #104", Sounds, Images.
  20. ^ "Ignatiy Vishnevetsky | BFI".
  21. ^ Vishnevetsky, Ignatiy [@vishnevetsky] (February 10, 2020). "I became a naturalized US citizen in 2017, and it's been nerve-wracking to watch the rest of my family experience the abrupt erosion of official attitudes and policies toward immigrants. And they're among the lucky ones" (Tweet). Retrieved February 16, 2020 – via Twitter.
  22. ^ Vishnevetsky, Ignatiy (April 5, 2013). "Dear Roger on Notebook". MUBI. Retrieved November 26, 2016. On December 31st [...] I was married in the basement of the county courthouse 11 days later.
  23. ^ Vishnevetsky, Igantiy (January 25, 2015). "Ignatiy Vishnevetsky on Twitter: "Siblings meet for the first time."". Twitter. Retrieved May 21, 2015.

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