Matrices for Non-Fiction: Dziga Vertov and the Kino-Nedelia Newsreels
Although Dziga Vertov is usually remembered as the creator of Man with a Movie Camera (1929), his career began and ended in newsreel. His work on the first Soviet newsreel series, Kino-Nedelia (Film-Week, 1918–1919), was formative not only for his own later practice but for Soviet non-fiction in general. Beginning with a discussion of Kino-Nedelia’s main predecessor, the short-lived Svobodnaia Rossiia (Free Russia, 1917) series, the present chapter focuses on important conventions of later Soviet non-fiction filmmaking that find early expression in Kino-Nedelia. These include the foregrounding of the collective character of filmmaking labour; sophisticated strategies of the narrative and non-narrative organization of footage; techniques of agitation; and, most importantly, the idea of newsreel itself as both historical archive and a source for other films.