"Anniversary of the Revolution"
Presentation by Nikolai Izvolov
The Soviet filmmaker Dziga Vertov made his film debut with The Anniversary of the Revolution (1918), celebrating the first anniversary of the October Revolution in Russia and characterized by his distinctive style of filmmaking based on the principle of montage. The centenary of its release will occur in November 2018. It was a huge feature film, more than 3000 meters long, a record for the period of the Civil War. The events depicted in the film cover the period from February 1917 (the bourgeois February Revolution) to the end of the summer of 1918 (the beginning of the Civil War in Russia).
Starting with the early 1920s, the film was cannibalized for material in other montage films about the early period of Soviet power, especially in other films by Vertov, who in his work continually re-used material from his previous films. This is the reason why no copies of the film have survived, and for many years the film was believed to be lost.
The film historian Nikolai Izvolov has spent several months doing a thorough investigation of the film archives to find fragments of Vertov’s film and to demonstrate their authenticity.
And so, one hundred years after its making, this film of Vertov’s is being reborn to a new life. Vertov is one of the founders of documentary film, a classic of the avant garde in film, and the maker of the greatest documentary film of all times and places, The Man With the Movie Camera (1929). The rediscovery of his first film is a momentous event for film scholars and enthusiasts at home and abroad.
Nikolai Izvolov is now a member of a research stuff at Film Museum, Moscow, former Head of the Department of Russian Film History at the Scientific Research Institute for Cinema (NIIK) at the Russian State Institute of Cinematography (VGIK). His publications include the book Fenomen kino. Istoriia i teoriia (The Cinema Phenomenon. History and Theory, 2001) and numerous articles on early Russian and Soviet cinema published both in Russia and abroad. He is particularly renowned for his work in the reconstruction of ‘lost’ films by Aleksandr Medvedkin, Dziga Vertov, Lev Kuleshov and others. Izvolov is the editor of Ruscico’s ‘Academia’ series of classic Russian films on DVD with commentaries in Hyperkino format.