Mute Avant-garde

Monday, 16 October 2017, 4:00pm - 5:30pm, IWM library
Throughout the 1920s, the Ukrainian film production industry was one of the largest in Europe, and the liberal policies of VUFKU (the All-Ukrainian Film Administration, which was in charge of the film industry) helped entice not only specialists from Germany and Turkey, but also Russian film directors who had already fallen out of favor at home, such as Dziga Vertov and Mikhail Kaufman; the latter group underwent a noticeable “aesthetic assimilation” in Ukraine. Long undifferentiated from the Russian film avant-garde, Ukrainian films of the 1920s have been lumped together and simplified; this has hindered them from being studied objectively. The case of VUFKU, an open experimental film laboratory that brought together Ukrainian avant-garde artists, writers, and theatre directors, is one of the most remarkable examples of the realization of a successful avant-garde project, intended to bring about societal modernization by means of art.

Ivan Kozlenko is director of the Oleksandr Dovzhenko Center, the Ukrainian national cinemateque.

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