Revolutionary Sketch

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Author: Igor and Gleb Aleinikov




The Brothers Igor and Gleb Aleinikov belonged to the first generation of independent filmmakers in the Soviet Union, who no longer worked within the studio system, but founded the 'Parallel Cinema'. Their films, like Western experimental film in the 60s, deliberately refused to conform to professional standards, and were thus rejected not only officially, but also by many filmmakers. With its dis- mantling of socialist propaganda, Traktora (Tractors) is part of the reassessment of the past in found footage that took place in the 90s. The voiceover, which grows in intensity from objective description to individual obsession, highlights the emerging individualization of the gaze as opposed to the collective ideology. Knopka (The Button)is a cynical caricature of the apparatchik; it is no longer ideology, but only corruption and stupidity, that creates one catastrophe after the other. The apparatchiks had a lot of time to establish themselves firmly in the country's administrative bodies; and it will probably also take a lot of time for the last of them to disappear.

A genre of short film that has long been extinct in the West was able to survive in Soviet cinema: the newsreel. Chronica demonstratii (Chronicle of a Demonstration)is actually an official documentation of the Revolution celebrations. However, the choreography, which worked perfectly for decades, falls apart, a process which the director records and enhances using formal means: the boring phrases of the speaker are replaced by music. The prescribed social form and the no less prescribed cinematic form of the newsreel are both broken up. Here, more than in any other document known to me, can be felt the radical upheaval and uncertainty of a new era.


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