EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|THREE SONGS ABOUT LENIN (TRI PESNI O LENINE) (director/writer: Dziga Vertov; cinematographers: Mark Magidson/Bentsion Monastyrsky/Dmitri Surensky; editor: Dziga Vertov; music: Yuri Shaporin; cast: V.I. Lenin, Joseph Stalin; Runtime: 59; MPAA Rating: NR; Bo Ying; 1934-Russia-in Russian with English subtitles)|
|"Vertov's monumental documentary."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Dziga Vertov ("Man
Camera"), founder of the
Kino-Eye school of the experimental Soviet
cinema, is the legendary
innovative Russian filmmaker known for advocating the plotless film
that allows the images to tell the story, whose use of the camera is
meant to capture "the chaos of visual phenomena filling the universe."
By also using sharp editing techniques and showing powerful images, Vertov's
documentary, the "Three Songs About Lenin," shot
in 1924, the year of the death of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin
(1870-1924), becomes his moving masterpiece. It plays as a
reverential tribute to Lenin as the godlike savior of Russia and the
country's eternal father figure, who led the October Revolution and
created the international Communist party and brought hope to a
desperate country where the masses were abused by the noble ruling
Using three anonymous
Russian folk songs about Lenin as a great Soviet leader, provides
Vertov a chance to express the deep feelings he had for him. The first
song, "My Face Was In A Dark Prison," tells about the now idyllic life
of a young Muslim woman, as it shows how vast was the influence of
Lenin that it even reached out to Muslim areas of the country. "We
Loved Him" is a glowing homage to Lenin's beliefs and accomplishment
and the love he inspired in the people. It also shows scenes from
Lenin's funeral, with the likes of Gorky and Stalin in attendance. The
third song, "In A Big City Of Stone," waxes poetic on how the country
is advancing in agriculture and industry, and how proud the Great Man
would be if alive to see what he started for his children.
Whether you share the same
love for Lenin or find the Marxist tenets palatable or not, doesn't
matter. This is not a mere propaganda film, but an astoundingly
beautiful one that seamlessly blends together newsreels and actual historical
cinema documents. It's a
majestic pic in scope and spirit, and deserves to be seen as a visual
record of history and as an exhilarating aesthetic work that shows the
promise of what an idealistic Russia could have been if it had pursued
its best humanistic instincts instead of getting sidetracked with
becoming a world power.
REVIEWED ON 4/26/2010 GRADE: A
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ