March 22, 2009
Had I not seen it, I would not have believed it. I had known Vertov praised some virtues of animation, even had an animator as part of the kinok crew, and that he was interested in advertisement films, but to see that he actually took part in such films is fascinating. I must share it:
These people are about to put on a play for you...
The feasting capitalist. He gets fat very quickly...
Fat on food, wine, and women.
Here comes the worker. Nice hammer.
He exposes the capitalist for what he really is.
The capitalist's body is fed. What about his soul? The old and new religion fight it out, rock-em-sock-em style. Draw.
The worker tries gutting capitalist wealth. His might fails
No, taxes won't do it either.
Comrade! The farmer offers his help; the hammer and sickle join forces...
and it works!
The money is invested in the nation.
And the capitalist is under sharp guard.
Goodbye capitalism, religion, decadence -- the worker's are on top!
[There's a lot in this film I am missing -- I wish somebody would explain it to me.]
Most people take a look back at Vertov's kino-eye philosophy and focus on his realist ("life as it is") aspects. The influential theorists and scholars of realism -- Grierson, Kracauer, Bazin, Rotha, etc. -- and the subsequent evolution of nonfiction films into "documentary" exposition (like cinema verite) has developed this emphasis of the real. They vastly simplify Vertov's philosophy. I think this animation shows that the thrust of Vertov's theories was not realism or even the "pure cinema" most of the contemporary avant-garde was after, but rather political transformation. Vertov's cinema is primarily a political cinema, meant to partake in building society towards its ultimate Utopia. Anyone who approaches Vertov's films should keep this in mind.
Anyway, however simple, it is an effective film.