In the same year as his brother Dziga Vertov directed Man With A Movie Camera, for which he was cameraman, Mikhail Kaufman made his own documentary filled with very similar if not identical images, sometimes displaying even the rapid cutting, dissolves, superimpositions and split-screen effects of Vertov fame. But the resemblance between In Spring and Man With A Movie Camera remains only superficial; the styles of Kaufman and Vertov are distinct though worthy of comparison. Kaufman's is a lyrical celebration of not only Spring but of Soviet life and work, the promise of industrialization and progress. Its images are often monumental, composed and framed artfully, with ever an eye for the beauties of form and abstractions of light and shade to be found in the real world. Its rhythm is slower, more even, and its development more linear and predictable. Lacking the brilliant invention, surprises, metaphorical playfulness and serious theorizing which abound in Vertov's self-reflexive work, Kaufman's In Spring is visually nevertheless a very satisfying experience, virtually titleless, and a prototype of the poetic social documentary of the Thirties.
• Directed by Mikhail Kaufman. (1929, 52 mins, 35mm, silent, no translation necessary, Print from PFA Collection)