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Monday, April 24, 2017

Maiakovskiene - and Vertov (Three Songs about Lenin)

Партия и Ленин -
кто более
          матери-истории ценен?
Мы говорим Ленин,
                  подразумеваем -
мы говорим
                   подразумеваем -
(Маяковский, Владимир Ильич Ленин)

Partidul şi Lenin - fraţi gemeni
Istoria Mamă-i socoate asemeni
Iar noi spunând: Lenin - partidul numim,
Partidul când spunem - la Lenin gândim
(Maiakovski, Vladimir Ilici Lenin)

Три песни о Ленине, 1934
(source: NoNaMe)
no copyright infringement intended

Ленин жил, Ленин жив, Ленин будет жить (Lenin has lived, is living, will live): the above poster summarizes this movie. The atheist society of Stalin needed its own mythology, just as throughout the whole history any other society had to build its own mythology (a fiction is always essential in the struggle for survival; if Darwin hadn't told it from the very beginning, it was said anyway by lots of Darwinians). Ultimately any mythology supposes the existence of an eternal god. Of course, in the Soviet mythology the eternal god was Lenin. As he had died in 1924, the problem of his immortality had to be solved.

In this movie the god Lenin lives forever in the Soviet society: in the whole society, and in any particle of it. Any Soviet citizen, and any Soviet accomplishment, carries the personality of Lenin. With this movie Vertov gives up his atheism, to become a pantheist: he deifies the Soviet society because it embodies the eternity of Lenin, and he deifies Lenin because his eternity is embodied in the Soviet society. Is it pantheism or rather panentheism? I'd leave for you to decide. Anyway it is the demonstration of a perfect totalitarian system: one cannot have free will as everyone embodies Lenin, thus carrying the will of Lenin.

Три песни о Ленине, 1934
(source: NoNaMe)
no copyright infringement intended

Well, for the regime officials this movie had two impardonable flaws. Firstly it was an Avangardist movie, it means some kind of bourgeois leisure. In 1934 the Soviet norm was already the Socialist Realism. And more than that it was the second flaw. The Soviet mythology was actually built upon two gods: one dead (Lenin) and one alive and in full control of the power (Stalin). And the dead god should have had only one role: to justify the almighty alive god.  This movie said too much about the dead god, and almost nothing about the alive god. No wonder that Vertov would not be let to make another movie any more. He would not understand why, as he was too honest, too sincere, to understand the ways of life.

Apart from that, this is a superb movie, just because it is so consistently Avangardist (I would even say so Productionist - the whole Soviet construction living through one hero, Lenin), and so sincere.

(Dziga Vertov)


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