Film Screening & Discussion. In Spring

Wednesday, February 20, 2019
Deutsches Haus (420 West 116th St at Amsterdam Ave)

Please join the Ukrainian Film Club at Columbia University, with the support of the Oleksander Dovzhenko National Film Center in Kyiv, Ukraine, for a screening of In Spring (1929), a film by Soviet filmmaker Mikhail Kaufman. This screening is part of a mini-retrospective of Kaufman's films, which will also feature a screening of An Unprecedented Campaign (1931) on March 13. Dr. Yuri Shevchuk will introduce the film and lead the post-screening discussion. The film will be shown with English subtitles.

Thanks to the efforts of the Oleksander Dovzhenko National Film Center in Kyiv, two silent films by Mikhail Kaufman In Spring (1929) and An Unprecedented Campaign (1931) have been restored and issued with exclusive new soundtracks and a book of commentaries and related documents from the era. Brother of David Kaufman (better known to the world as Dzyga Vertov), Mikhail Kaufman has remained a largely obscure figure of early Soviet cinema. One of the prominent participants of the Kino-Eye Group and an innovator in his own right, he actively experimented with montage, and used effects such as freeze frame and hidden camera, among others.

In Spring is an outstanding example of the Ukrainian silent cinema avant-garde, and captures the spirit and poetry of Kyiv in the late 1920s. Kaufman’s response to his brother Dzyga Vertov's celebrated Man with a Movie Camera, this rarely seen document of the epoch was shot in the middle of the Soviet Union’s transition from revolutionary enthusiasm to Stalinist totalitarianism. The French film historian George Sadoul wrote that In Spring “opened a completely new form of documentary cinema for us—a poem in which lyrical images of thaw and swollen flower buds reflect the pathos of Soviet advancement on the way of socialist construction, while not concealing the remnants of the past that still exist.”