U.S. Premiere of the Digital Restoration
Introduced by film programmer Dorota Lech and presented with live piano accompaniment by Makia Matsumura
Dir. Dziga Vertov. 1918. 119 mins. DCP. Made for the first anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution and released in Soviet Russia on November 7, 1918. Anniversary of the Revolution was the first feature-length documentary directed by the legendary pioneering filmmaker Dziga Vertov. The film portrays the developments surrounding the period from February 1917 (the bourgeois February Revolution) to the end of the summer of 1918 (the beginning of the Civil War). Filmed by a multitude of cameramen and made largely from newsreels, it was long believed lost or destroyed. With the aid of a full list of the film’s intertitles discovered in the Russian State Archive of Literature and Art by Svetlana Ishevskaya, film historian Nikolai Izvolov reconstructed the film to a 98% accuracy to the original version by piecing together the fragments. According to Izvolov, Anniversary of the Revolution “was a unique experiment, which involved the editing of a huge number of archival newsreels—unprecedented not only for Soviet Russia, but also the rest of the world… Film historians have guessed before that this film had to be of great importance for the development and formation of documentary cinema. But only now [can] we really see its significance.”
Dorota Lech is a Polish-born, Toronto and Los Angeles-based film programmer and independent curator. Since 2013 she has worked for the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), where she is an International Programmer and Lead of the Discovery Programme. She also produces the Hot Docs Forum, a pitching event aimed at garnering financing for international documentaries, at North America’s largest documentary festival.
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