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Kino-Eye / Three Songs About Lenin (1934)
Starring: V.I. Lenin, Nadezhda Krupskaya, Joseph Stalin, Dolores Ibarruri
Director: Dziga Vertov
Category: Drama, Special Interest, Documentary
Studio: Image Ent.
137 mins



Dziga Vertov, whose renegade approach to cinema is best remembered in the legendary Man with the Movie Camera and his series of Kino-Pravda newsreels, demonstrates his mastery of montage in this 1924 feature previously unseen in the United States.

An outspoken critic of the purely entertaining, plot-driven motion picture, Dziga Vertov challenged other filmmakers to rebel against the Western story-oriented cinema.Vetov argued that filmmakers should use their cameras 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 (Kino-glaz) 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 wheat fields 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 through the use of carefully selected outtake footage.

Three Songs About Lenin
Described by H.G. Wells as "one of the greatest and most beautiful films I have ever seen," this was Vertov's most personal work and the capstone of his career.Three Songs About Lenin reveals the Soviet leader as seen through the eyes of the people, represented by the three songs.The first, "My Face Was In A Dark Prison", concerns the life of a young Muslim woman."We Loved him" deals with Lenin's life and death.The third song, "In A Big City Of Stone", shows the accomplishments of his rule.

More important, however, are the exhilarating beauty of Vertov's images and the majesty of his filmmaking skills, which produced a film called by The New York Times "a work of unusual beauty and emotional exaltation."