The Heart of the World: Masterpieces of Soviet Silent Cinema

Enthusiasm: Donbass Symphony

Entuziazm: Simfonia Donbassa

Dziga VertovUSSR67 minutes1930PGB&WRussian

Oct 31
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"The greatest Red documentary filmmaker of the 1920s, the greatest documentary filmmaker of the '20s, the greatest filmmaker ... ever?" J. Hoberman asked at the time of a Dziga Vertov retrospective in 2011, and Enthusiasm makes one plump for "ever." Admittedly a big cheat in the context of this retrospective — as it is Vertov's first sound film — Enthusiasm nevertheless must be seen as a transitional work, very much in the tradition of Soviet silent montage. Excited by the prospects of sound, Vertov turned this blasphemous hymn to the coal miners of the Don basin into a virtuoso experiment in image and sound counterpoint. "With Enthusiasm, the kino-eye met the radio-ear … as remarkable in its way as Man with a Movie Camera.... Belligerently anti-religious, this early Soviet talkie ... is a truly modern hymn" (Hoberman).

From the collection of the Austrian Film Museum.