This is a fantastic film from Dziga Vertov. It is quite personal and yet shows the intense and varied activities of numerous people in the Soviet Union of 1924. It is as artistic and creative as anything being done in the United States or Germany at the time. It was cutting edge cinematic constructivism. It is interesting to compare this film with Vertov's "Three Songs of Lenin" ten years later. While "Kinoeye" is interested in showing the truth about life and the world, "Three Songs" is only interested in dogmatic praise of Lenin. The two films show the difference between the Soviet Union of Lenin and the Soviet Union of Joseph Stalin. This film shows people drinking, smoking, taking cocaine, and joking. We see disfigured people in an insane asylum, we see a homeless boy sleeping in the streets and a man who died in the streets. In contrast to this, in "Three Songs," everybody is heroic and everybody is marching forward, there are more machines than people, and the film suggests that Lenin magically solved all the problems of the past. One can argue that the Soviet Union was facing the threat of Nazi Germany in 1934 and therefore needed heroic militaristic films to inspire their people. The same images of poverty and people just surviving day to day, that we get in "Kinoeye" would not have inspired people faced with the threat of Nazi insanity. These things are hard to judge, but when socialist realism turned into socialist heroism and only showed the good and strong instead of showing everything, I think it took a big step away from the truth. I should like to think that Lenin would have loved "Kinoeye" and hated "Three Songs of Lenin". After all, he never flinched from looking upon and seeing the darker sides of reality.
This documentary promoting the joys of life in a Soviet village centers around the activities of the Young Pioneers. These children are constantly busy, pasting propaganda posters on walls,...
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September 4, 2019