Man with a Movie Camera (1929) with Montopolis and UCAO
Director: Dziga Vertov Run Time: 69 min. Rating: NR Release Year: 1929
Starring: Elizaveta Svilova, Mikhail Kaufman
Country: Soviet Union
One Night Only event. Austin-based indie chamber music group Montopolis scores the infinitely-inventive Soviet experimental silent documentary, Man with a Movie Camera (1929), live in the screening room. Presented with The Ukrainian Cultural Association of Ohio (UCAO).
About the film:
Revered as a visual masterpiece and one of the greatest documentaries ever made, the film gives historical context to the current Russian invasion and lays bare the costs of the ongoing humanitarian catastrophe. The joyful, original live score by Montopolis celebrates the beauty and resilience of Ukraine’s people and aims to inspire American audiences to support the country in its time of need
Mykyta Tyshchenko and Tetyana Dovbnya (The Ohio State University) will introduce the film and hold a discussion after the film.
Presented with The Ukrainian Cultural Association of Ohio (UCAO), the hub of Ukrainian-American life in Columbus and Central Ohio. Founded in 1983 in Columbus as a nonprofit association, the mission of UCAO is to promote Ukrainian culture, such as language, arts, sciences, literature, and history, among its members and the general public; sponsor Ukrainian cultural and civic events in Central Ohio; provide financial and other support to people, organizations, and institutions for the purpose of promoting Ukrainian culture, as well as humanitarian aid to those in need in Ukraine.
About the composer:
The grandson of Romanian immigrants, Montopolis composer Justin Sherburn has a personal investment in the history and culture of Eastern Europe. His original score incorporates indie rock, extended techniques, and traditional Ukrainian folk melodies. According to Sherburn (whose Ashkenazi family name is Shapiro), the work is “an exercise in the power of music to undermine a film’s intention.” Man with a Movie Camera (1929) was commissioned by the Soviet regime under Joseph Stalin to showcase the might of industry in the cities of Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Odesa.
The composer’s empathetic and romantic score transforms a nationalistic propaganda film into a celebration of the human spirit, emphasizing the humanity of the Ukrainian people over the industrial prowess of the Soviet Union. Sales from all Montopolis merchandise on the tour will be donated to UNICEF to support their crisis relief efforts in the region.
About the filmmaker:
Dziga Vertov was a Soviet pioneer documentary film and newsreel director, as well as a cinema theorist who developed his own cinematic language. His filming practices and kino-glaz (“film-eye”) theory—that the camera is an instrument best used to explore the actual happenings of real life—had an international impact on the development of documentaries and the cinéma vérité style of movie-making. His features include Kinoglaz (1924), The Sixth Part of the World (1926), The Eleventh Year (1928), Man with a Movie Camera (1929), Enthusiasm (1930) and Three Songs of Lenin (1934 and 1938).
In the 2012 Sight & Sound poll, critics voted Vertov’s Man with a Movie Camera (1929) the eighth-greatest film ever made.
About the speakers:
Mykyta Tyshchenko is a PhD student at the Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures at the Ohio State University. His MA thesis focused on the portrayals of Ukraine’s national identity in Ukraine’s contemporary cinema about war. Since presenting the thesis in the fall of last year, the project expanded in its focus and now studies the changes in Ukraine’s culture after Euromaidan and the Revolution on Dignity. Mykyta obtained a BA in applied linguistics and English at Kyiv National Linguistic University, but fell in love with studying his own country while he taught at Pomona College in California.
Tetyana Dovbnya is an MA/PhD student at OSU, specializing in Ukrainian and Russian modernism, primarily literature (poetry to be very exact, but also Ukrainian prose of the 1920s). She holds an MA in Linguistics from Ohio University. Prior to this, she lived and studied in Ukraine, where she obtained an MEd in Teaching English and German Languages & World Literature from Zhytomyr State University. She has been teaching Russian at Ohio University for 3 years prior to coming to OSU to continue her education.
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