KINO-EYE (Dziga Vertov, 1924)

The following is one of the entries from my 100 Greatest Films from the Soviet Union, Russia, Ukraine and Eastern Europe list, which I invite you to visit on this site if you haven’t already done so. — Dennis

As Dziga Vertov, Polish-born Denis Abramovich Kaufman pioneered the newsreel in two series: Kino-Pravda (Cinema Truth, 1922-25); Novostni Dnia (New of the Day, 1944-54, the year of his death). Committed to a cinema of fact, Vertov—with the assistance of his brother, cinematographer Mikhail Kaufman, and his wife, cutter Elisaveta Svilova—created Kino-Eye. Vertov’s aim was to capture the myriad reality of the unfolding Soviet experience.
     Largely following “Young Leninists,” an educational troupe of activist children, Kino-Eye cross-identifies, in terms of freshness, wholeness, health and freedom, the following: the Soviet Union; the idealism that guides this revolutionary nation; cinema—cinema, that is, once it is liberated from its theatrical and reactionary origins. Vertov’s work surely was far removed from the Russian heaviness that overtook Soviet cinema as the Soviet Union receded farther from claims to any sort of idealism. Kino-Eye in fact displays delightful camera tricks—for instance, passages of reverse motion that in the process of analyzing various activities and events suggest also sheer possibility and fresh beginnings, but with an ironic hint, too, of determinism. Indeed, no film in creation more seamlessly and unexpectedly darkens in complexion, shifting from being celebratory to exposing the threat to the collective welfare—a threat imaged in grotesque animated silhouette—posed by entrenched individual habits such as excessive drinking of alcohol and tobacco use! For Vertov, his new nation is not a done deal but remains vulnerable, and therefore he urges his audience to see analytically, to grasp causality and their joint responsibility in the Soviet adventure. Vertov wants to open eyes to everything good and everything bad that is happening, and he plans on keeping his own eyes open as well.
     Discrediting plot-driven movies, Vertov also exhorted fellow filmmakers to show instead “the chaos of visual phenomena filling the universe.”

B(U)Y THE BOOK

MY BOOK, A Short Chronology of World Cinema, IS CURRENTLY AVAILABLE FROM THE SANDS FILMS CINEMA CLUB IN LONDON. USING EITHER OF THE LINKS BELOW, ACCESS THE ADVERTISEMENT FOR THIS BOOK, FROM WHICH YOU CAN ORDER ONE OR MORE COPIES OF IT. THANKS.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Dennis+Grunes&x=14&y=16

http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Dennis+Grunes&x=14&y=19

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s