Friday, June 3, 2011

Dziga Vertov - Kinoglaz AKA Kino-eye (1924)



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.

Subtitles: English interstitials