Thursday, November 8, 2007

The way machine sees us

The Eleventh
V. Stenberg, A. Stenberg, 1928

Laughing Man: You could put it like that, I suppose. "I am the machine that reveals the world to you as only I alone am able to see it"

Motoko: Dziga Vertov. He was a Russian film maker, wasn't he?

Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex - Japanese cyberpunk anime television show


This a movie poster, which announces the famous documentary by Dziga Vertov. His actual name was Denis Kaufman, and he was one of the founders and main theorists of news-reel and documentary shooting.

This documentary was released in 1928, and was called “The Eleventh”, meaning the eleventh year after the October Revolution. Its main idea was to show the progress the young soviet state had achieved. The man on the poster is a grotesque image of Dziga Vertov himself. His eyeglasses reflect the agricultural and industrial machinery. This is an illustration of one of his main theories – that a true documentary is not about mere snap-shooting of life, but instead it is about life, run through the eyes of the observer, whoever he is - or whatever it is. Unlike other documentaries of that time this principle implied the distinctive presence of the protagonist in the movie, although he might not be shown directly or it might not be human at all.

This was a silent black and white documentary. But the cut was done in a way that illustrated the sounds of the machinery and other things shown. This was a staggering technique for the twenties and it did earn Dziga Vertov a wide international acclaim.

This constructivist poster done by Stenberg brothers is a masterpiece itself. The bold type on the left side says the name of the film: “The Eleventh”. Every eyeglass has also this name inscribed in. To the right there are the credits: “Author-Director Dziga Vertov Chief Cameraman Kaufman”. The Chief Cameraman Kaufman was Dziga Vertov’s brother – Mikhail, who was also a noted film maker. There was also another brilliant cinematographer in this family: the third brother Boris, together with parents, moved to Poland after the Revolution. In 1954 he won Oscar and Golden Globe for the first American feature film On the Waterfront, but he never had a chance to meet his brothers after 1917.

Buy Stenberg Brothers’ movie posters at allposters!

8 comments:

Koen said...

Just wondering... Are these brothers Kaufman related to the current days' most renomated scenarists (other) brothers Kaufman? Or is it a mere coincidence? It's just that the director (Greek Elia Kazan), who directed any other great (contemporary) play/flick afterwards like 'a street car named desire' and 'a cat on a hot tin roof' was named as the borthers' Kaufman biggest source of inspiration...

AnimalUno said...

Good evening and congratulations from Spain. Great blog. Where do you find the posters?

Alexander Zakharov said...

Koen - thanks for the valuable comment. It never occured to me that Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich) or Andy Kaufman (a brilliant comedian) could be related to Dziga Vertov, Boris or Michail Kaufman.
But it turns out that they are not in any way.
As for Elia Kazan - he did work with Boris Kaufman in several of his films, and by all means he had seen most of Dziga Vertov's films - so I suppose, Michail and Denis Kaufman's work actually was the source of his inpiration.

Animaluno

Thanks, Animaluno! I've been to Malgrat de Mar this summer - and it was a fantasic trip, which i immensly enjoyed! ;)
Well, there are lots of poster galleries on the net - check http://eng.plakaty.ru/
or this famous flikr photoset http://www.flickr.com/photos/bpx/sets/72057594117941491

AnimalUno said...

Thanks! :-)

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nash said...

I don't remember how I found your blog, but I was particularly delighted to see this entry! Vertov's Man with a Movie Camera remains one of the most astounding films I have ever seen -- decades ahead of its time. I look forward to checking out your poster blog in more detail.

--nashtbrutusandshort
Categorical Aperitif

Anonymous said...

Great Blog! This poster was "sampled" by Shepard Fairey (Obey Giant) a few years ago, awesome to see the original version!

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