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

Curated by Konstantin Akinsha

The program Filming the Revolution is dedicated to Ukrainian cinema of the late 1920s-early 1930s. During this period, the All-Ukrainian Photo Cinema Administration (VUFKU) was a cinematographic state monopoly that encompassed the entire film industry in Ukraine. It was not only Ukrainian film directors who cooperated with VUFKU, however. In the late 1920s, during the official assault on so-called “formalism” in the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, Ukraine was still free of ruthless censorship, thanks to the efforts of Mykola Skrypnyk, the commissar of education. Thus, in the late 1920s, the film studios of Odessa and Kyiv became the last bulwarks of the Soviet cinematic avant-garde. New cinematic masterpieces were created there by directors like Oleksandr Dovzhenko, destined to become the most important representative of Ukrainian cinematic culture, and by Dziga Vertov, whose most radical creations were produced by VUFUK.

The program will include films by Oleksandr Dovzhenko, Dziga Vertov, Mikhail Kaufman and Mykola Shpykovskyi. While the works of Dovzhenko and Vertov may be familiar to the Viennese public, this is the first time films by Kaufman and Shpykovskyi will be screened in Vienna. Shpykovskyi’s Bread was banned in the Soviet Union for more than 50 years and was recently restored by the Dovzhenko Center. Kaufman’s An Unprecedented Campaign was for many years believed to be lost, until the footage was discovered in 2015 and restored by the Dovzhenko Center. The world premiere of the restored version took place this year in London.

Konstantin Akinsha is an art historian, journalist and curator; he is the Founding Director and Chair of the Russian Avant-garde Research Project, UK

Session 1: Oleksandr Dovzhenko
Earth (1930) – 84 min
October 15, 2017, 16:00

Session 2
Dziga Vertov
Enthusiasm: Symphony of the Donbas (1931) – 65 min
October 15, 2017, 18:30

Session 3
Mikhail Kaufman
An Unprecedented Campaign (1930) – 71 min
October 18, 2017, 18:00

Session 4
Mykola Shpykovskyi
Bread (1929) – 44 min
October 18, 2017, 20:00

Tickets: 5,00 Euro
Nähere Details:

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.


Related Events:

Keynote Speech
Timothy Snyder: Ukrainian History as World History: 1917-2017
Filming the Revolution: Ukrainian Film Posters of the 1920s
October 13, 2017, 18:00

Ivan Kozlenko
Mute Avant-garde: Ukrainian Film in the 1920s
October 16, 2017, 16:00

Konstantin Akinsha
Bolsheviks and Icons: Constructivism, Archaism and Propaganda [tba]
January 22, 2018 , 16:00