Kino-Pravda, Nos. 1–8

The twenty-three issues of Kino-Pravda that Vertov made between 1922 and 1925 are among his most radical cinematic experiments. All but one issue survive (though some in fragments), and this retrospective offers a rare chance to follow the entire three-year cycle of newsreels. The reward for doing so, as Yuri Tsivian writes, is to witness “a time-lapse movie showing the growth of Soviet avant-garde cinema (born in 1922, not in 1924 as we are normally told).” In the first eight Kino-Pravdas, Vertov begins to play with then-novel film techniques, including dialectical editing (thesis-antithesis-synthesis), to transform “facts” into political statements: the complicity of the Russian Orthodox Church in the terrible famine of 1922; and the sensationalism of Russia's first Show Trial, in which the Bolshevists brought forty-seven Socialist-Revolutionary leaders, their bitter rivals, to court while crowds gathered in Red Square to await the inevitable verdict.

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