Dziga Vertov

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David Kaufman (Russian: Дави́д А́белевич Ка́уфман) (2 January 1896 – 12 February 1954), better known by his pseudonym Dziga Vertov (Russian: Дзи́га Ве́ртов), was a Soviet pioneer documentary film, newsreel director and cinema theorist. His filming practices and theories influenced the Cinéma vérité style of documentary moviemaking and, in particular the Dziga Vertov Group active in the 1960s.


Early years

Born David Abelevich Kaufman (Russian: Дави́д А́белевич Ка́уфман) into a family of Jewish intellectuals in Białystok, Congress Poland, then a part of the Russian Empire. His father was a librarian. He Russified his Jewish name David and patronymic Abelevich to Denis Arkadievich at some point after 1918. Kaufman studied music at Białystok Conservatory until his family fled from the invading German army to Moscow in 1915. The Kaufmans soon settled in Petrograd, where Denis Kaufman began writing poetry, science fiction and satire. In 1916-1917 Kaufman was studying medicine at the Psychoneurological Institute in Saint Petersburg and experimenting with "sound collages" in his free time. Kaufman adopted the name "Dziga Vertov" (which translates loosely as 'spinning top'); Vertov's political writings and his work on the Kino-Pravda newsreel series show a revolutionary romanticism.

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