The character from Thomas Bernhard’s novel may be speaking about the works of Goethe and Shakespeare but expresses an uneasiness in principle about the analysis of art. I wish, however, to contradict the great Austrian author. If one analytically comes to grips with the oeuvre of the Russian director Dziga Vertov (David Abelevič Kaufman), in the process dismantling his films into the smallest possible units and graphically displaying individual portions in a new manner, one inevitably arrives, in addition to and alongside academic realisations, at a fundamentally deeper understanding of Vertov’s films, his ideas and his times. Not only during the director’s lifetime was criticism levelled at a certain mysteriousness about his films; it is not rare for bafflement also to be expressed by their audiences of today. Furthermore, analysis is consonant with Vertov’s own artistic self-perception, for the director repeatedly represented his creative processes in numbers and tables and was enthusiastic about both formal and technical experiments and developments in film work. A precise knowledge of the filmic resources at his disposal, as well as the techniques and their effects, were all part and parcel of this.
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