Dziga Vertov

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Dziga Vertov
David Abelevich Kaufman
BirthplaceBiałystok, Russian Empire (now Poland)
Film director, cinema theorist
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.)


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Por ultimo, e importante destacar, a influencia mesma do cinema russo, ou por uma mostra enviesada disso, como sua referencia a Jean-Luc Godard ou de forma direta solicitando a figura, tambem potente, de Dziga Vertov. Enfim, de mostrar como o poeta dialogou, sempre de forma tensa e produtiva, com o cinema, desde seu primeiro livro, Me segura, de 1972 e de suas ligacoes nada ortodoxas com a poesia marginal, e com seu flerte com as praticas concretas.
(Some of those reprinted in From the Third Eye originally appeared in the catalogue for the Grove Press International Film Festival.) The October 1970 issue even included a 1922 manifesto by Dziga Vertov.
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.
Y esto lo hace de maneras diversas en funcion de la corriente de vanguardia, bien trabajando lo real documental (como se aprecia en el ciclo breton de Jean Epstein), bien mostrando los elementos tecnicos que producen la imagen (por ejemplo la metacinematografia de Dziga Vertov en El hombre de la camara y de Man Ray en Emak Bakia), bien variando las condiciones de generacion de la imagen (es el caso de los rayogramas filmicos de Man Ray y los experimentos luminicos de Moholy-Nagy).
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.
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.