Ukrainian Avant Garde in Film: Unknown Kyiv of 1929. Screening and talk. June 7, 6:30pm


The event will present an almost lost documentary film by Mikhail Kaufman, a brother, cameraman and a co-author of Dziga Vertov. Shoot in Kyiv and produced by All-Ukrainian Photo-Cinema Directorate in 1929, this avant garde film is a cinematic poem to arrival of spring in nature as well as a new life in a society. With the first use of hidden camera  it also offers a rare glimpse on everyday life in Soviet Ukraine during NEP and “indigenization” policy, a short-lived policies of the Soviet State.

The screening will be followed by a talk by Stanislav Menzelevskyi, a Programme Director from Oleksandr Dovzhenko National Centre, Ukraine's largest cinemateque.

This event is part of the events series "The Century ofthe Ukrainian Revolutions", organised by the Ukrainian Institute in London.

DATE: Wednesday, 7 June 2017

TIME: 6:30pm

VENUE: Bertha Doc House, Curzon Bloomsbury, The Brunswick Centre, Bloomsbury, London WC1N 1AW

Note this is a ticketed event. The ticket needs to be purchased on Bertha DocHouse website.

About the film:

In Spring/Navesni

VUFKU, 1929  Duration: 00:54:18 Directed by Mikhail Kaufman Written by Mikhail Kaufman  Cinematography by Mikhail Kaufman  Music by Oleksandr Kokhanovskyi

In Spring is a masterpiece of Ukrainian cinema avant-garde, a non-fiction film made by Mikhail Kaufman, Dziga Vertov’s brother and co-author, along the lines of the avantgardist theory of «cine-eye». The film shows Kyiv in 1929, almost unknown today. Pictures of wakening city, its resurging life resonate with lyrical views of reviving nature. Kaufman’s attentive camera dwells deliberately on smiling faces of children, lyrically depicting a declaration of love to Kyiv. In In Spring, Kaufman used the method of «hidden camera» for the first time.

Soundtrack to the film was composed by Oleksandr Kokhanovskyi, who also created music to a series of experimental theatrical productions, movies, art performances and other artistic events.

Georges Sadoul, a French cinema writer Mikhail Kaufman’s In Spring (1929) is more of a cinematic poem than a documentary. In 1930 in Ukraine, this film as well as Earth made a profound impression on us. With In Spring, we have discovered a totally new form of documentary cinema, a cine-poem, where the lyric theme of thaw and swelling buds accompanied the advancement of USSR towards socialism without concealing still existing survivals of the past. I saw this film thirty-seven years ago but still keep unforgettable memories of it.


Speaker biography:

Stanislav Menzelevskyi , Head of Research and Programming Department, Oleksandr Dovzhenko National Center 

Stanislav Menzelevskyi, born in 1983, got a bachelor’s degree in Arts in Cultural Studies (with distinction) from National University of “Kyiv-Mohyla Akademy” and a master’s degree in Cultural Studies (with distinction) from the same university. Postgraduate student at Cultural Studies Department at National University of “Kyiv-Mohyla Akademy”.

Ex-member of Editorial Board of Political Critique, Commons and ProStory magazines. Co-founder and member of Editorial Board of Medusa publishing house. Since November 2011 works at Oleksandr Dovzhenko National Center, which is a State Film archive, where as Head of Research and Programming Department researches silent and sound soviet cinema, writes articles on cinematic and cultural topics, organizes film screenings and retrospectives (in 2015, curated Ukrainian Avant-garde retrospective at Arsenal film center, Berlin). Co-author of Atomopolis. Assembling Utopia (2016). In 2013, was a Carnegie visiting scholar at the Harriman Institute, Columbia University.


This event is held in partnership with Oleksandr Dovzhenko National Centre and Bertha DocHouse.