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
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, 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.
Central to Kino-Eye are the activities of the Young Pioneers, a group of Soviet adolescents committed to serving the needy. These scenes of teen philanthropy are interwoven with playful cinematic experiments, as when Vertov charts the evolution of hamburger and bread by following its trail back to the farms and wheatfields from whence it came, and a ballet of high-diving that is eerily similar to the famous sequence in Leni Riefenstahl’s Olympia.
Kino-Eye is thus a fascinating film, not just for its aesthetic beauty and political significance, but for honestly documenting a society fresh from revolution, buoyed by idealism, ready to face the challenges of a difficult future.
The final reel of Kino-Eye no longer exists, but has been approximated by the use of carefully selected outtake footage. Continue reading
Commissioned by the Moscow Soviet as a documentary and information film for the citizens of Moscow prior to municipal elections, film is a tableau of Soviet life and achievements in the period of reconstruction following the Civil War of 1917-1921. Continue reading