From Lenin’s Lamp in the Usbek hut to the gigantic Moscow-Volga Canal: Across continents, the people of the Soviet Union praise their beloved father and kind friend. Ten years after his death, Lenin is still omnipresent, both in people's mourning and in their belief in progress: revolution is contagious, moving, relevant. Dziga Vertov masterfully montages a touching hymn from weekly news material and new pictures – this time for the “red dream factory”. Eulogies and jubilant singing, folk songs and dirges: lots of editing, insertions and corrections mark the eventful history of films on the founder of the Soviet Union. Stalin claims his place with an iron hand, only to be removed in 1970, as if he had never been there in the first place. Vertov – revolutionary and avant-gardist – becomes a plaything of the powers-that-be, yet he still remains true to himself. His montages speak a clearer language than the slogans in the pictures. TRI PESNI O LENINE (Three Songs of Lenin) is both a sound and silent film. The two versions are being shown in comparison: the silent film (for the provincial cinemas) was made in 1938; the talkie is the de-Stalinised version dating from 1970.
Print courtesy of the Austrian Film Museum, Vienna