Dziga Vertov – Entuziazm: Simfoniya Donbassa AKA Энтузиазм: Симфония Донбасса (1931)

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Vertov and his Kino group produced this lyrical documentary on the lives of Coal miners in the Donbas who are struggling to meet their production quotas under the five year plan. Enthusiasm is most noteworthy for it’s creative use of the new sound medium. Vertov liberated the recording equipment from the studio and shot sound on location. He also used common everyday sounds and wove them into what can only be described as a symphony. In fact, after seeing the film Charlie Chaplin wrote: “Never had I known that these mechanical sounds could be arranged to sound so beautiful. I regard it as one of the most exhilarating symphonies I have heard. Mr. Dziga Vertov is a musician.” Continue reading

Dziga Vertov – Tri pesni o Lenine AKA Three songs about Lenin (1934)

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The legendary Dziga Vertov’s most personal and deeply felt film, as well as the touchstone of his brilliant career. Three Songs of Lenin reveals the Russian leader as seen through the eyes of the Russian people represented in three songs. The first, “In a Black Prison Was My Face,” concerns the life of a young Muslim woman. “We Loved Him” deals with the life and death of Lenin himself. The third song, “In the Great City of Stone” shows the accomplishments of his glorious rule. Continue reading

Dziga Vertov – Kinoglaz AKA Kino-eye (1924)

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Dziga Vertov, whose renegade approach to cinema is best remembered in the legendary Man With a Movie Camera and his series of Kino-Pravda newsreels, demonstrates his mastery of montage in this 1924 feature previously unseen in the U.S.

An outspoken critic of the purely plot-driven motion picture, Vertov challenged other filmmakers to rebel against the Western story-oriented cinema. Vertov argued that filmmakers should use their camera to capture “the chaos of visual phenomena filling the universe” and through clever editing, develop these random images into a more honest, more genuine record of the Soviet experience. Continue reading