Our image of Russia’s October Revolution is heavily influenced by the films of Sergei Eisenstein. What is less well known is that a long-form documentary film was also made on the subject in 1917 – possibly the first feature-length documentary film in cinema history. The then 22-year-old David Abelevich Kaufman, who would later become world famous under the pseudonym Dziga Vertov, was commissioned by the People's Commissariat for Education to document the events of the October Revolution. A team of cinematographers captured images of crowds, farmers in villages, but also of revolutionaries Lenin and Trotzky on celluloid. In 1918, the material was used to produce the film ANNIVERSARY OF THE REVOLUTION, which was presented all across the Soviet Union in propaganda trains, workers’ clubs and cinemas. After the civil war ended, the most expedient passages (mass demonstrations, etc.) were cut out and re-used in newsreels. The images of Trotzky disappeared in the archives. As such, the film in its full-length version was lost, although a detailed shot list remained intact and was eventually discovered by film historians. This enabled a restoration team under the direction of cinema historian Nikolai Izvolov to reconstruct the film in the Russian State Archive for Film and Photographic Documents in Krasnogorsk. Following its world premiere in 2018 at IDFA in Amsterdam, goEast is excited to host the German premiere of this historical document, featuring live piano accompaniment by Uwe Oberg.
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USSR 1918
121 min, DCP, b/w

no dialogue


Dziga Vertov