Dziga Vertov

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Dziga Vertov
David Abelevich Kaufman
BirthplaceBiałystok, Russian Empire (now Poland)
Film director, cinema theorist

Vertov, Dziga


(pseudonym of Denis Arkad’evich Kaufman). Born Dec. 21, 1895 (Jan. 2, 1896), in Belostok; died Feb. 12, 1954, in Moscow. Soviet film director and documentary film maker; one of the founders of documentary film making in the Soviet Union and the world.

During the first years of Soviet power, Vertov worked in the newsreel department of the Moscow Film Committee. He directed the work of photographers-reporters and, using material from the Civil War, made the films Anniversary of the Revolution (1919), The Agitation and Propaganda Train of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee (1921), and History of the Civil War (1922). Vertov founded the thematic newsreel series Kino-pravda (1922-25), in which he developed new newsreel filming techniques and for the first time applied principles of montage juxtaposition to documentaries. His best Kino-pravda effort was the production of The Lenin Kino-Pravda (no. 21).

Vertov published a number of theoretical articles and manifestos in which he explained the theoretical basis of his Kino-Eye method.

His main contribution was his innovative development of the documentary film as a pictorial social commentary. In the film Forward, Soviet! (1926), he used the techniques of montage juxtaposition to help create a documentary picture of Moscow when the city was recovering from ruin and famine. In One-sixth of the World (1926), he presented a poetic image of the Soviet motherland. In Enthusiasm (Donbas Symphony), his first talking movie (1930), Vertov used both visual and audio means to develop the theme of socialist construction. His film Three Songs About Lenin (1934) is the best work done in the Soviet pictorial social commentary film medium.

Vertov’s creative and theoretical legacy has had a major influence on the development of Soviet and foreign documentary films. He was awarded various medals and the Order of the Red Star.


Stat’i, dnevniki, zamysly. Moscow, 1966.


Abramov, N. P. Dziga Vertov. Moscow, 1962. (See bibliography and listing of films.)


References in periodicals archive ?
Artistically, Gurovich was inspired by the Russian movement of Constructivism from the late 1920s, in particular the posters designed by Dziga Vertov and the Stenberg brothers.
In Man with a Movie Camera [1929], Dziga Vertov went out with a camera and filmed everyday stuff, and then he and his wife found a way to edit it together.
A potencia dessas imagens e resultado de uma complexa interseccao, em que incidem criterios tecnologicos, como a portabilidade das cameras, e na qual se atualiza um antigo projeto do cinema: constituir um cine-olho, como no projeto de Dziga Vertov, imerso no fluxo dos acontecimentos, confundido com a materia da vida.
When Dziga Vertov famously reveled in the camera's ability to "catch life unawares," he fought against the theatricality of bourgeois fictional film.
Like Dziga Vertov and the revolutionaries of the modernist Soviet cinema, who pronounced a death sentence on the films that came before for mixing in "foreign matter," Bresson bemoaned the "terrible habit" of using theatrical techniques in movies, a convention only exacerbated by the introduction of sound.
Segun David Tomas, la nocion de montaje blando en Farocki debe ser leida en relacion al concepto de intervalo en el cine de Dziga Vertov (250).
La tendencia documentalista de este corpus cinematografico tuvo como referente uno de los momentos fundacionales para el cine politico: la vanguardia cinematografica sovietica de los anos veinte del siglo pasado, sobretodo el documentalismo de Dziga Vertov.
In particular, Cowie focuses on an array of 1930s documentaries about labor, drawing on the theories of documentary pioneers John Grierson and Dziga Vertov, alongside Foucault, Butler, and Ranciere, to examine Las Hurdes, Coal Face, A Day in the Life of a Coal Miner (Kineto Production Company, 1910), and Housing Problems (Arthur Elton, Edgar Anstey, and Ruby Grierson, 1935), among others.
The showcase encloses the documentary features telling about iconic events in Ukraine: from the classics of silent cinema, The Eleventh Year by Dziga Vertov, to contemporary international film festivals hits, The Russian Woodpecker by Chad Gracia and Winter in the Fire by Evgeny Afineevsky.
The film, directed by Dziga Vertov, pays homage to everyday life in the Soviet Union during the 20s.
Godard's interest in the cinema's ability to perfect human vision also aligns him with Dziga Vertov and the Kino Eye collective with whom he particularly identified in the late 60s.
The Soviet avant-garde filmmaker Dziga Vertov used a similarly discontinuous and accelerated pace of montage to depict (although in largely celebratory terms) modern cities in the 1920s.