Thursday, 17 March 2011

MoMA Presents Dziga Vertov Retrospective

The Museum of Modern Art salutes master of Soviet cinema Dziga Vertov (b. Denis Arkadievitch Kaufman, Bialystok, Poland (Russian Empire), 1896-1954), whose still-radical experiments in image and sound have had an enduring influence on an astonishing range of contemporary filmmakers and artists. With the most comprehensive retrospective ever assembled in the United States, April 15 through June 4, the exhibition offers a deeper understanding of Vertov's landmark contributions to the history of cinema through an extensive selection of silent films, sound features, and related work by collaborators and rivals in what Vertov called his "factory of facts." Dziga Vertov is organized by Yuri Tsivian, William Colvin Professor, The University of Chicago, and Joshua Siegel, Associate Curator, Department of Film, The Museum of Modern Art, in close collaboration with the Austrian Film Museum, Vienna. The exhibition is organized in cooperation with the Austrian Cultural Forum New York and is made possible by The International Council of The Museum of Modern Art.

The exhibition opens with the U.S. premiere of Man with a Movie Camera (1929), newly restored in its original full-frame version by the EYE Institute Netherlands. Eleven programs of Vertov's silent films, drawn primarily from the Austrian Film Museum's unparalleled collection, include the premieres of fourteen Kino-Week films from 1918-1919, and, for the first time together, all of his extant Kino-Pravda films from 1922-1925, several of which are famous for Vertov and Aleksandr Rodchenko's ingenious experiments in graphic design. The exhibition continues with such masterworks as Stride, Soviet! (1926), A Sixth Part of the World (1926), The Eleventh Year (1928), Enthusiasm: Symphony of the Donbass (1930), Three Songs of Lenin (1934/38), and other sound films. Also presented are films by Vertov's brothers, Mikhail and Boris Kaufman, as well as films by Joris Ivens and Albrecht Viktor Blum, among others. Among the many rediscoveries is the work of certain largely forgotten women filmmakers of the Soviet avant-garde, including Elizaveta Svilova, Vertov's editor and wife, and Esfir Shub, who pioneered "found footage" cinema and was instrumental in the development of dialectical montage.

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