Monday, May 13, 2013

Truth and Circumstance

By Ela Bittencourt
From Artforum

Tinatin Gurchiani, The Machine Which Makes Everything Disappear, 2012, digital video, color, sound, 97 minutes.

“MEMORY IS WHAT WE RECORD IT TO BE,” filmmaker Peter Wintonick said at the conference of the eighteenth “It’s All True” (IAT) documentary festival. No one understood this better than Soviet filmmaker Dziga Vertov, whose montages extolled the Bolshevik revolution. In collaboration with the Austrian Film Museum, the festival, with over eighty titles reaching five Brazilian cities, staged a Vertov retrospective, comprising early newsreels, shorts, and seven full-length films.
From reverse to stop-motion and concealed camera positions, Vertov embraced cinema’s ability to awe and to estrange. In A Sixth Part of the World (1926), his kaleidoscopic vision spans modernizing cities and the Siberian taiga, with machinists, huntsmen, and shamans made to embody the Soviet nation’s latent energies. At the end of his first feature not made of found footage, Kino-Eye (1924), Vertov cuts away from young pioneers to a circus elephant in Moscow. His digressive art later influenced Chris Marker and Jan Švankmajer, among others.

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