Kino-Pravda Nos. 18, 20–22

Kino-Pravda No. 18 is boastfully subtitled “A Movie Camera Race over 299 Meters and 14 Minutes and 50 Seconds in the Direction of Soviet Reality”-a key example of Vertov's delirious attempt to defy constraints of space-time travel, to be everywhere at once, through “impossible,” visionary linkages of different geographic locations, moving West to East, from Paris to Moscow, with dramatic tracking shots and cameras positioned underneath descending airplanes, amid racing cars, on trams, all culminating in the momentous “Octobrization” of a baby at a worker's collective (a Communist attempt to supplant the ritual of baptism). No. 20, “Pioneer Pravda,” is a follow-up to Kino-Eye, with Young Pioneer boys like “Little Smoked Sprat” and “The Gypsy Kid” communing with wolves, snakes, and elephants at a zoo, but the film is most remarkable for its stunningly edited railway journey sequence. No. 21 is a “Film Poem about Lenin,” commemorating the first anniversary of his death, and, in a Hegelian-Marxist dialectical triad of thesis-antithesis-synthesis, narrating his achievements (from his assassination attempt to the Red Terror policy to images of Soviet Russia's progress under Bolshevism), his declining health and death (famously illustrated by Vertov and Rodchenko's animated titling and their astonishing funeral sequence), and his triumphant legacy (cleverly represented by animated images of swelling crowds of workers morphing into newsreel shots of the Communist Party standing strong and proud). No. 22, the “Peasant Kino-Pravda,” was made as part of the smychka campaign to unite workers and peasants, and to demonstrate that “Lenin is Alive in the Heart of the Peasant” and in the hearts of oppressed Asians and Africans.

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