The theories and experimental films of Dziga Vertov revolutionized documentary cinema and continue to influence filmmakers ranging from Godard to Stan Brakhage to Chris Marker. He was born Denis Arkadievitch Kaufman in Bialystok, Poland (which at the time was part of Czarist Russia), the son of a librarian. His brothers, Mikhail Kaufman and Boris Kaufman, both became noted cinematographers. Vertov began writing poetry at age ten and at 16 was attending the Bialystok Music Conservatory where he studied violin and piano. A resident of Russia since 1915, Vertov studied neurology in St. Petersburg in 1917. While there, he began researching human perception with sound and created a Laboratory of Hearing in which he made montages of natural sounds and then tried to re-create them by grouping them in phonetic units. He took his pseudonym (loosely translated as “spinning top” or literally “top turning”) at this time.
Following the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, Vertov was invited to become… read more
Though one might feel weird about the propagandistic purposes of his movies (like Eisenstein's), there is evidently more than just propaganda: we can see that he really loved the moving pictures, and also that he had the sense of poetry, besides being an early virtuoso of cinema. He inspires me and refreshes me a lot.
I guess I can understand why Vertov isn't everyone's favorite director, but he definitely deserves a wall post! Though he is a little bit crazy, his writings and his film works expressed the traits of a true revolutionary: robust, inspiring, and idealistic to the (very bitter) end. Love Vertov and his YouTube Vision For The Future.