Three Songs about Lenin

Introduced by Robert Bird

Friday, October 6, 2017, 7:00pm - 7:00pm

As part of "Revolution Every Day," the Film Studies Center and the Smart Museum of Art present screenings of three rare Dziga Vertov films from 35mm prints from the Austrian Film Museum.

For Three Songs about Lenin—released for the tenth anniversary of the death of Vladimir Il’ich Lenin in 1934—Vertov gathered all known footage of Lenin and shot first-person testimonies about his legacy by workers, peasants, and newly liberated women of Central Asia. Three Songs was not only an international hit, but was also the only documentary in a wave of films in 1934 (most notably, the Vasil’ev brothers’ Chapaev) that defined the new aesthetic of socialist realism, the aesthetic for international socialism. Contrasted to Kinopravda No. 21 (“The Lenin Kinopravda” from 1925), Three Songs about Lenin articulates Vertov’s path from avant-garde montage to the “poetic documentary” he proposed for socialist realism.

(Dziga Vertov, USSR, 1934/38, 61 min., 35mm print courtesy of the Austrian Film Museum) 

Robert Bird is Professor in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, the Department of Cinema and Media Studies, and the College. He is the author of Russian Prospero (2006), a comprehensive study of the poetry and thought of Viacheslav Ivanov. He is also the author of two books on the filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky and a biography of author Fyodor Dostoevsky. His translations of Russian religious thought include On Spiritual Unity: A Slavophile Reader (1998) and Viacheslav Ivanov's Selected Essays (2001).

Co-presented by the Smart Museum of Art in conjunction with "Revolution Every Day," on exhibit Sept. 14, 2017 – Jan. 14, 2018.