The Fall of the Romanov Dynasty

A devastating chronicle of Tsarist Russia from the eve of World War I until its brutal demise in the revolutions of February and October 1917, The Fall of the Romanov Dynasty comprises hundreds of films that Esfir Shub unearthed and rescued from damp cellars and other neglected corners of the Soviet Union, including newsreels and home movies taken by the Tsar's own cameramen. Using the film splice as a cudgel, Shub contrasts the Imperial Family in opulent ballrooms, regal processions, and garden tea parties with the backbreaking toil of the masses, a bitter satire that makes the Revolution seem both historically inevitable and triumphant. One of the great pleasures of this Vertov retrospective is rediscovering the work of certain largely forgotten women filmmakers of the Soviet avant-garde, including Elizaveta Svilova, Vertov's editor and wife, and Shub, who pioneered “found footage” cinema and was instrumental in the development of dialectical montage, collaborating with Sergei Eisenstein on the shooting scripts of Strike and Potemkin.

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