IDFA - Lullaby

One of the last films by editing maestro Dziga Vertov, this documentary is dedicated to “the women of the Soviet Union” – it features both radiant mothers, and of course Stalin.

One of the last films by editing maestro Dziga Vertov, who this time did without the cinematic trickery used in his magnum opus Man with a Movie Camera (1929). Vertov made Lullaby to mark the 20th anniversary of the October Revolution, dedicating the film to “the women of the Soviet Union” – a recurring theme in his oeuvre. Opening with a rocking camera and a tender montage of babies breastfeeding, the film races through the various parts of the Soviet Union – concentrating on the far East – recording all kinds of folksy, romantic scenes of radiant mothers and their children, the inevitable portrait of Joseph Stalin omnipresent in the background.

Halfway through, Stalin himself appears, at a women’s congress, where he is praised for the new constitution that will “affirm the emancipation of women.” It seems that Stalin and the members of his party were not so impressed by the film, however: Lullaby screened for only a few days, and in the years that followed virtually all new film plans submitted by Vertov were rejected.

(idfa)