British Sounds + Pravda
DIRECTOR: DZIGA VERTOV GROUP
CAST: PRODUCTION LINE OF MG SPORTS CAR
The first of two English-language Dziga Vertov Group productions underwritten and distributed by the film arm of publisher Grove Press, British Sounds (a.k.a. See You at Mao) appeared on the heels of Godard’s rejection of narrative film as irreparably tainted, an explosion of creative energy and innovative sloganeering ending with the blunt image of a bloodied hand reaching for a red flag. Multiple competing sound tracks carry doctrine from Nixon, a women’s liberation group, and the Communist Manifesto, pointedly drowned out by the clangor of machinery on a car factory assembly line, which led Godard to note that the audience couldn’t endure for ten minutes what workers endured for a lifetime.
Dziga Vertov Group / 1969 / 58 minutes / DCP
Six months after Soviet tanks had rolled into Czechoslovakia to quash the liberalizing insubordination of Prague Spring, Godard and company were on the ground, shooting in the aftermath. The footage, which the relentlessly self-excoriating Godard later criticized as “political tourism,” would be married to a voiceover sparring match between Lenin and Rosa Luxembourg, trying to locate a truth somewhere between the party lines of the imperial USSR and the reform-minded Slovak politician Alexander Dubček.
Screening as a part of our Dziga Vertov Group series.