Kino-Eye is a highly stylised newsreel by Soviet documentary pioneer Dziga Vertov, combining creative experimentation with a propagandist portrait of life in a model Soviet village.

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    Non Fiction

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  • KINO-EYE Alternative
  • CAMERA EYE Alternative


“Almost a century later Vertov’s films still look revolutionary. And a contemporary digital video clip screened alongside them might not look so modern (or post-modern) after all.”
Jonathan Dawson, Senses of Cinema, 2003

Kino-Eye, subtitled ‘Life Caught Unawares’, is both film and statement. Dziga Vertov (born Denis Kaufman) had been making and theorising about films since 1918, and by the time Kino-Eye won a medal at the World Exhibit in Paris he was a leading figure in Soviet documentary film.

His films combine witty observation with wild experimentation, and although clearly propagandist in intent, can’t resist subverting the subject matter. In Kino-Eye he champions the work of a group of Young Pioneers zealously improving society by illuminating the Soviet path for the benefit of the unenlightened, but never forgets that they’re human beings. When they go swimming, their horseplay is just as cheerfully irresponsible as any Western teenager’s.

Kino-Eye was the first of Vertov’s films to have international impact, though it now looks like a dry run for his more complex experiments of the later 1920s, notably The Man with the Movie Camera (1928).

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