Filming the Revolution: Ukrainian Avant-garde Films 1929-1931

Sunday, 15 October 2017, 6:30pm - 8:00pm, Blickle Kino, 21er Haus
Filming the Revolution: Ukrainian Avant-garde Films 1929-1931
curated by Konstantin Akinsha

Session 2:
Dziga Vertov
Enthusiasm: Symphony of the Donbas (1931) – 65 min
Original with English subtitles

Enthusiasm is the first Ukrainian sound film. Made in 1930 by Dziga Vertov, a master of the cinematic avant-garde, it was the first motion picture in which real-life sounds served not only to illustrate the visual imagery, but also to create an independent musical composition.

Enchanted by Vertov’s creation, Charlie Chaplin wrote: “Never had I known that these mechanical sounds could be arranged to sound so beautiful. I regard it as one of the most exhilarating symphonies I have heard. Mr. Dziga Vertov is a musician.”

The film, dedicated to the first five-year plan, celebrates industrialization and collectivization, along with the struggle against illiteracy and religion. Enthusiasm was shot in the same year that Soviet authorities began to curtail so-called Ukrainization policies, which granted a certain level of cultural autonomy to Ukraine. The days of the avant-garde were numbered.

The film was released on April 2, 1931, but it was removed from distribution shortly afterwards and soon forgotten. It was only rediscovered in the 1960s thanks to renewed interest in the Soviet avant-garde in the West.


This program is organized under the auspices of the Ukraine in European Dialogue project of the Institute for Human Sciences (IWM), Vienna, in cooperation with the Blickle Kino / 21er Haus, Vienna, and the Oleksandr Dovzhenko Centre, Kyiv.

Tickets: 5,00 Euro
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