Человек с киноаппаратом ("Man with a Movie Camera") is a classic experimental documentary film that was released in 1929. Directed by pioneer Soviet filmmaker Dziga Vertov, this classic, silent documentary film has no story and no actors, and is actually three documentaries in one. Ostensibly it documents 24 hours of life in a single city in the Soviet Union. But it is also a documentary of the filming of that documentary and a depiction of an audience watching that documentary and their responses. "We see the cameraman and the editing of the film, but what we don't see is any of the film itself." [more inside]
Soviet rock hero Viktor Tsoy kept his job in the boiler room of an apartment complex even as his band KINO grew wildly popular in the last years of the Soviet Union. At the height of the band's fame, he even made a few film appearances. He died in a car accident in 1990, but a tape of recordings survived the crash and became the "black album." Fans still leave messages for him on the "wall of Tsoy" on Arbat street.
Fritz Lang's last silent film, Woman in the Moon, has just been released by Kino Video in a lovingly restored and remastered edition, expanded to its original running time of 169 minutes. (Prior releases of the film in the US had as much as half of the original footage removed, with altered title cards that completely changed the storyline.) Woman in the Moon is considered to be the first real attempt to depict a flight to the moon in film that wasn't completely fantastic, thanks to the technical input of Hermann Oberth, who later went on play a key role in the development of the German V-2 rocket. As a piece of futurism, Woman in the Moon gets a few things wrong (the Moon of the film has a breathable atmosphere, for one thing), but it's also surprisingly prescient as well (the rocketship that voyages to the moon has multiple stages). Its most significant contribution to popular culture is the reverse countdown to blastoff, which was invented by the filmmakers as a dramatic device.