Slavic 138: Topics in Russian and Soviet Film: National Cinema: Dziga Vertov in Context

MW 12:30-2, 188 Dwinelle. Instructor: Anne Nesbet.

Units: 4 Satisfies L&S Arts & Literature breadth requirement.

Cross-listed with Film 160, Section 1.

Taught in English with readings in English.

Screening: W 3-6, 188 Dwinelle. CCN: 79793

In this class we will study the life and work of Dziga Vertov (born David Abelevich Kaufman, a name later russified as Denis Arkadievich Kaufman), one of the most innovative filmmakers of the early twentieth century. He was a musical boy who wanted to be a poet, but in 1918 he found himself editing newsreels in Moscow; he then transferred his avant-garde aspirations into the realm of documentary cinema. We will follow the course of Vertov’s career, paying attention to the way it intersects with early Soviet cultural history and with the careers of other Soviet filmmakers artists (such as Shub, Rodchenko, Eisenstein, Kozintsev and Trauberg, Mikhail Kaufman). We will also discuss Vertov’s influence on later-twentieth-century filmmakers in Europe and the United States.

Prerequisites: None.