Vertov, Dziga

Vertov, Dziga

Vertov, Dziga, 1896–1954, Soviet filmmaker, pseudonym of Denis Kaufman. Vertov introduced the idea of “Kino-Pravda” (or cinéma vérité), which was extremely influential worldwide, affecting cinematic realism and the development of the documentary film in the 1920s and thereafter. Also important was his concept of “Kino-Eye,” which argues for the superiority and possibilities for improvement of the camera's lens as opposed to the human eye. He began making newsreels documenting the Russian civil war in 1918. His masterpiece, Man with a Movie Camera (1929), ia a silent feature-length documentary without titles. His other films include Stride, Soviet (1926), The Eleventh Year (1928), and, with sound, Enthusiasm (1931) and Lullaby (1937). Although Vertov was a committed communist, he fell out of favor during Stalin's rule. Interest in Vertov revived in the 1960s, when he particularly influenced the work of Jean-Luc Godard, and again in the early 21st cent.


See A. Michelson, ed., Kino-Eye: The Writings of Dziga Vertov (1985); studies by Y. Tsivian (2005), J. Hicks (2007), and P. Ahwesh and K. Sanborn, ed. (2008).

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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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.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.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Vertov, Dziga: Kino-Nedelia (numeros: 34 y 35) (1919, URSS); Vertov, Dziga: Kino-Pravda (numeros: 1, 2, 3,4, 5, 7, 15, 17, 18, 19, 20, 22, 23) (1919-1924, URSS); Vertov, Dziga: Lenin Kino-Pravda (1924, URSS); Vertov, Dziga: Juguetes sovieticos (1924, URSS); Vertov, Dziga: Cine-ojo (1924, URSS); Vertov, Dziga: !Adelante soviet!
Vertov, Dziga. "The Factory of Facts", Pravda, 24 julio 1926, en The Film Factory.
Vertov, Dziga. "Film Directors, A Revolution." Screen 12.4 (1971-72): 52-58.
VERTOV, Dziga (1976) Cloviek z kamera (1929) (El hombre de la camara).