Kino-pravda

Kino-pravda the film, directed and produced by Dziga Vertov describes the aftermath of the Russian Revolution. During this time three things are happening, each affecting Russia for the good of the country and for the bad. First of all Russia is rebuilding itself, trying to become just as modern as Western Europe by building railroads and giving the Russian people jobs. Second of all the Russian Communist party is straightening the Soviet Union's ways of adjusting to a new government. Finally, the negative outcomes of the children's sanitariums at the end basically tell the audience how Russia starting a new generation rebuilding itself, although the government is still falling apart. Vertov tells the story of the Russian Revolution through common images such as trolley systems, the common people and the government, and the children.

Throughout the documentary trolley systems are being built. Transportation is developed and people are looking for jobs. The more people who are looking for job, the faster the trolley systems are being built, routes are developed. People are using trains as a way of commuting in faster ways.

Vertov uses the "railroad" as a common image. It represents Russia rebuilding itself after the social revolution. Although it appears that Russia has rebuilt itself, symbolically it means that the Russian people have formed their society again. The railroad is a new highway for the Russian people. The train represents all the dreams that Russia has for its people, but in order to make Russia a strong nation the people will have to work as a unifying force.

Russian people are trained in their new government to work in an equal society. A few times during the film clocks show how much time people have put in to working on the railroads. Sometimes the hour and the minute hands spin faster because as the hands spin faster Russia changes faster. The images are also tight representing an intense stressful change. At one point there are several clocks in which several changes in Russia are taking place, for example the trolley system, children sanitariums, and the government. The clocks also symbolize how hard the Russian people have worked, how much their country has changed and how little it hasn't.

In this twenty-five minute documentary, Vertov squeezes in as much time as possible. He would like for the audience to see how change is present during a short period of time. Hours of footage are edited together in many cuts, which is the style that Vertov is know for. His quick cuts may show the audience abbreviated summaries of what he would like to get across or how the communist government structures its people as working machines.

As the communist government is only shown briefly during the film, this shows that the communist government is not really running the country. Instead, it is the common people. The communist government is only a dark shadow over the Russia people. It is a background to what is happening in Russia. Otherwise the common people are controlling the economy.

Common people are working on the railroads and in the fields. They also show up at all the court hearings on cases relating to the social revolution. They are the ones that are in more control. Vertov focuses on the common people. He feels that the common people are the ones to change Russia. They are also the ones that are responsible if anything else should happen, such as another war. They are also responsible for the children, the future of their nation.

Vertov's film seems to take a gradual rise of positive effects, until at the end when the children sanitariums are shown. This represents either that the horrible outcomes of the war should be saved for last or that Vertov is saving the children for last because he is trying to hide the negative effects of the war. Vertov shows the negative effects of the war because it shows even though a revolution has helped the Russian government, the war has affected her people in destructive ways. Another interpretation of the children sanitariums in more of a positive note, could be Russia's way of starting over again. The children could be Russia's way of starting over again: the children are the beginning of a new country.

Children's sanitariums, portraying sick children, may also symbolize the sick children of Russia's future. Russia has cleaned up the mess of just about everything after the social revolution. The only thing that is left is her sick children. Kino-pravda, this documentary, shows no matter what Russia will still remain a poor country because the children sanitariums portrayed at the end also show the beginning of more pain.

Through the railroads, the common people and the government, and the children sanitariums, Kino-pravda is a film, not so much because it is an early 20th century documentary, but because it shows a story of real people and their real lives.

Kino-pravda is necessary because it shows people what really went on in Russia after the social revolution. In the documentary several images are shown which help tighten the film so that the message will get across. Facts of history are told in different ways in films to get messages through.

The images that are important in this documentary are children sanitariums, the government and the common people, as well as the railroads. All of these create a view of Russia, each representing Russia in different ways. Dziga Vertov draws a picture of Russia through film, which gives the viewer a sense of what the Russia people are all about. It is a documentary because it uses actual events to tell a story and it is necessary because there is no fanaticizing in this piece. Vertov is a master of the Russian "people" film.

--Danielle Pasqua

Dziga Vertov