This documentary promoting the joys of life in a Soviet village centers around the activities of the Young Pioneers. These children are constantly busy, pasting propaganda posters on walls,... See full summary »
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This documentary promoting the joys of life in a Soviet village centers around the activities of the Young Pioneers. These children are constantly busy, pasting propaganda posters on walls, distributing hand bills, exhorting all to "buy from the cooperative" as opposed to the Public Sector, promoting temperance, and helping poor widows. Experimental portions of the film, projected in reverse, feature the un-slaughtering of a bull and the un-baking of bread. Written by
George S. Davis
This is an interesting and creative earlier effort by Dziga Vertov, and "Kino-Eye" often shows the same kind of imagination and experimentation that reached near-perfection in his later feature "Man With a Movie Camera". The distinctive style is quite recognizable, and the experimental sequences - many of them using camera tricks - are quite resourceful.
Although there isn't a story in the conventional sense, two common themes hold it together and give it substance beyond the individual sequences. In terms of content, the activities of the Young Pioneers form the connection between the numerous short sequences. The various experiments and special camera effects themselves form the other main thread, because they are much more than mere visual tricks. In every case, they represent Vertov's effort to take the obvious, literal images that are inherent in the material, and to project them to an extreme that is either perfectly logical or perfectly impossible, depending on one's point of view.
In most of Vertov's features, he is openly interested in promoting what he considered to be the virtues of the Soviet state. Yet the interesting thing about his best features, of which this is one, is that they also have a timeless quality, because - whether he realized it consciously or not - his way of looking at things sometimes goes well beneath the surface, and when it does, it can bring out themes that underlie humanity in general, without respect to political systems.
"Kino-Eye" is certainly not as polished as "Man With a Movie Camera" - in particular, it could have benefited from tighter editing and selection of material - but it is definitely worthwhile in itself. Not only can you see Vertov's technique in a stage of advanced development, but the movie also has some material and sequences that are quite interesting in themselves.
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