Dziga Vertov's Work as Evaluated by Kazimir Malevich: Dynamic Abstraction in the Film “Man with a Camera”

Cover Image

Cite item

Full Text

The article analyzes the aesthetic motives of Dziga Vertov’s film «Man with a Movie Camera» (1929) in the context of Kazimir Malevich’s speculations on cinema and cinematic idiom. In the 1920s, the artist wrote several papers stating the formal decline of contemporary films. He projected hope that dismissing genre and plot clichés such as “inevitable” «kisses» and «happy ends», directors would focus their efforts on the abstract content of the film. Through the use of archival documents the author shows that while mapping out the concept of « Man with a Movie Camera» Vertov was on the same page with Malevich, placing particular emphasis on the «kiss» as a generic symbol of feature films. The documentary maker moves from a «kissless» film, as Malevich puts it, towards developing the dynamic content of the film. Passing from the concrete to the abstract and to futuristic images Vertov fills up the composition of «Man with a Movie Camera» with an elaborate content based on a number of associations and editing rhymes. Tellingly Malevich calls Vertov virtually the only filmmaker in the world set to portray the true reality. And he calls «Man with a Movie Camera» the key work on the way to creating Suprematist cinema. The author of this paper proves that Dziga Vertov was under the great artistic influence of Malevich and contemplated his works in line with non-objective art.

Restricted Access

Goryachok Kirill

научный сотрудник Сектора художественных проблем массмедиа

Государственного института искусствознания (ГИИ)
, 125009, г. Москва, Козицкий переулок, д. 5

Author for correspondence.


  1. Vertov D. Pisma El Lisitskomu i Sofie Hristianovne Lisitskoi [Letters to El Lissitzky and Sofie Hristianovna Lissitzky]. RGALI. Fund 2091, op. 2, d. 294. (In Russ.).
  2. Vertov D. Tetrad s nabroskami scenariya dokumentalnih filmov «Chelovek s kinoapparatom», «Zemla», «Odinnadtsatiy», montaghnimi planamy I shemami, spiskami objectov sjemki, dnevnikovimi zapisyami i dr. [A notebook with drafts of scenarios for documentaries «The Man with a Movie Camera», «Earth», «The Eleventh Year», assembly plans and diagrams, lists of shooting objects, diary entries, etc]. RGALI. Fund 2091, op. 2, d. 236. (In Russ.).
  3. Vertov D. Tetrad s planami I shemami ozvuchivania documentalnogo filma «Simfonia Donbassa» («Enthusiasm»), spiskami objektov sjemki, opisaniem kadrov i dr. [A notebook with plans and schemes for dubbing the documentary «Symphony of Donbass» («Enthusiasm»), lists of shooting objects, descriptions of frames, etc]. RGALI. Fund 2091, op. 2, d. 240. (In Russ.).
  4. Dziga Vertov v vospominaniyah sovremennikov [Dziga Vertov in the memories of his contemporaries] / ed. E.I.Svilova, A.L.Vinogradova. Moscow: Iskusstvo, 1976. 280 p. (In Russ.).
  5. Malevich K. (1995) Statyi, manifesti, teoreticheskie sochineniya I drugie raboty. 1913–1929 [Articles, manifestos, theoretical essays and other works. 1913–1929] // Sobranie sochineniy: v 5 t. [Collected works: in 5 vol.]. Moscow: Gileya, 1995. 403 p. (In Russ.).
  6. Formalniy metod. Antologiya russkogo modernisma: v 3 t. [Formal method. Anthology of Russian modernism: in 3 vol.] / ed. S.Ushakin. Moscow: Kabinetniy ucheniy, 2016. Vol. 1-2. 936 p. (In Russ.).
  7. Tsivyan YU.G. Istoricheskaya retseptsiya kino. Kinematograf v Rossii 1896–1930 [Historical reception of cinema. Cinema in Russia 1896–1930]. Riga: Zinatne, 1991. 492 p.

Supplementary files

There are no supplementary files to display.

Copyright (c) 2022 Goryachok K.

This website uses cookies

You consent to our cookies if you continue to use our website.

About Cookies