August 18, 2019

August 9, 2019

Shub, Dreyer

at the
Echo Park Film Center

August 16th, 2019
Doors at 7:30pm
$5 Suggested Donation

Echo Park Film Center 
1200 North Alvarado St. 
Los Angeles, CA. 90026 


Комсомол - шеф электрификации
Эсфирь Шуб

Komsomol, Leader of Electrifiction
Esfir Shub, U.S.S.R. 1932

followed by


Carl Th. Dreyer, Sweden, 1945


К.Ш.Э. Комсомол - шеф электрификации 
 1932. U.S.S.R. 56 minutes. 
Author of the Work: Esfir Shub (АВТОР РАБОТЬІ: Эсфирь ШУБ). Production: Communist Youth League, Rosfilm/Suyuzkino (Moscow). Montage (Sound and Image): Esfir Shub. Assitant Director: L. Felonov. Camera: V. Solodovnikov. Assitant: Nato Vachnadze. Sound recorded on the Shorin system (Aleksandr Shorin). Sound Assistant: M. Nikolayevskaja. Music: Gavriil Popov. Collaboration: Marietta Shaginyan, author of "Hydrocentral: The Hydro-Electric Power Station". With: Komsomol Members, Baltic Red Star Sailors, comrade Savelyey, comrade Klimov, comrade Zapredeloy, comrade Manyukov, comrade Vinter, comrade Mitrusenko, comrade Dudnik, comrade Vachnadze, colonel Gubor, Academician A.A. Chernychev, Konstantin Kovalsky (theremin) Paramonova (Komsomol,"How to Make Light Bulbs"). Songs: "Kominternlied" (composed by Hanns Eisler, 1929, lyrics by Franz Jahnke 1926 / Maxim Vallentin; Russian lyrics by Ilya Frenckel); "L'Internationale" (composed by Pierre De Geyter, 1888, lyrics by Eugene Pottier, 1871; sung in Russian).

"As our epoch is very interesting, we must select from it for the future." (Esfir Shub)

"I will learn to speak in the voice of the class for which and together with whom I want to keep working." (Esfir Shub)

A "sound film and radio screen" representing Soviet electrification and electricity, and the building of the Dnieper Hydroelectric Station in Ukraine as part of the first Five Year Plan (1928-1932). 

Along with Vertov's Enthusiasm and Dovzhenko's Ivan, Esfir Shub's K.Sh.E. Komsomol, Leader of Electrification is one of the earliest and most adventurous of Soviet sound films, and is about the production and function of sound itself, its producers and organizers. Unlike any other film it depicts the many possibilities of using sound through the theme of electrification. In this optical-acoustical experiment we 'see' sound and electricity as never before, raw and in the service of the people who produce it, and its amplification. 

Pioneer Soviet woman filmmaker Esfir Shub--originator of the compilation film using existing newsreel and actuality material, and consequently one of the first film preservationists, most well known in the West for her film The Fall of the Romanov Dynasty (1927)--here films the movement of electricity from product to production then source: first we see electricity in use, what it can record, communicate, hear and see, in a sequence that "emphasizes the materiality of the cinematic equipment itself" (Ricardo Matos Cabo) while recording sound at the Moscow Sound Factory and on Leningrad square: theremin, orchestra, internationalist radio production and broadcast, red flag parade. She then films a production line of electric objects inside an advanced light bulb factory, scored by the music of Shostakovich pupil Gavriil Popov ("a sight-sound victory!" Eisenstein called this sequence), where we see only women workers and hear their proud testimony. Finally we see and hear--turbines, blast furnaces, Armenian workers, Baltic Red Star Sailors, accordions, water--the massive effort to construct and dedicate the actual hydroelectric dam that will generate all this energy. 

The cinefication and electrification of life uniquely produced in this era, and in this society, is expressed, writes Ricardo Matos Cabo, through Shub's "unity of sound and image (which) comes to signify the actual unity of people and languages."


1944. Sweden. 71 minutes
Directed by Carl Th. Dreyer. Production: Svensk Filmindustri, Stockholm. Producer: Carl Anders Dymling. Script: Carl Th. Dreyer and Martin Glanner, based on W.O. Somin's play Attentat. Cinematography: Gunnar Fischer. Sound: Lennart Svensson, Tore Ljungberg. Art Direction: Nils Svenwall. Music: Lars-Erik Larsson. Editing: Carl Th. Dreyer and Edvin Hammarberg. Shot July 5-August 23, 1944. Players: Georg Rydeberg (Arne Lundell), Wanda Rothgarth (Marianne), Gabriel Alw (Professor Sander), Stig Olin.

A tragedy that takes place entirely in the middle-class apartment of hospital staff doctor and scientist Arne Lundell, and his wife Marianne. Accusations of plagiarism are leveled at Lundell over his thesis on a treatment for schizophrenia. In no position to refute these accusations made by a superior at the hospital, Lundell is only consoled by the love of his wife, and his love for her, until that too is implicated in the scandal. 

"In theory, the film is the ne plus ultra of Dreyer's style: only two characters, one set, and a plot whose duration coincides exactly with the running time," writes critic Tom Milne before judging that in practice this results in a film "devoid of any sort of resonance." This was the consensus view of Two People, a view that identified more with the director's rejection of the film than the film itself and its time. 

The actors, the two people of Two People--Georg Rydeberg and Wanda Rothgarth--were imposed upon Dreyer during casting by the producers at Svensk Filmindustri (Carl Anders Dymling and Victor Sjöström). Because of this Dreyer disowned the film, declaring it impossible to fulfill the story with the wrong faces. Dreyer also virulently objected to the producers' imposition of sentimental exit music after the siren sounds, the death heralds, of the ending shot.

Yet it's clear from the plastic tensions in the film (and the production stills) that Dreyer nevertheless applied himself fully in this compromised situation to the initial idea and challenge of shooting a film worthy of the name with only two figures, three walls, and the objects placed there as they break-apart and unite with the camera, light, time, and sound. Two People's dense, multifarious image-dialogue relations in this small space are consistently startling and unnameable; one could say they evince the beginnings of an other cinema, afflicted and confined, later elaborated by Marguerite Duras's Nathalie Granger and La Camion, Godard's Numéro deux, Warhol's Eat and Beauty #2, Shirley Clarke's The Connection and Portrait of Jason, all Stephen Dwoskin's films, Philippe Garrel's La Concentration and Les Hautes solitudes, and Pedro Costa's In Vanda's Room and Where Lies Your Hidden Smile?. Nearly everything about Two People, whether tonally off or on, humanly present or absent, would serve Dreyer's later masterpieces Ordet and Gertrud

"The 'otherworldliness' that some viewers associate with Dreyer's films is, for the most part, a fusion of his deeply accurate observations of human action and interaction presented through authentically cinematic techniques, refined by the director over many years, which heighten the sense of presence of whatever state of being Dreyer attempts to communicate and evoke. It is by discarding 'otherworldly' pretensions that Dreyer arrives at this and that his characters achieve their 'grace'--a process made explicit in Ordet, which is Dreyer's fable on this very point." (Donald Skoller, Dreyer in Double Reflection).

Dreyer agreed to make this film in Sweden as it was a means to flee Nazi-occupied Denmark with a job title, clearing his passport and ensuring he wouldn't be interned in a refugee camp while there. If his detachment on the film lead to a kind of abstraction, he persisted through his craft in showing the extent of the void within many populations at the time.


Program total running time: 2 hours and 11 minutes
There will be no introductions.
Doors open at 7:30pm, film at 8pm.
$5 Suggested Donation.

Special Thanks to Ricardo Matos Cabo and his work (without whom this screening would not be possible), Natalie Ryabchikova, Lilya Kaganovsky, and Chloe Reyes.

The two actors Dreyer wished to use...

Gunn Wållgren


Esfir Shub

Carl Th. Dreyer


“Kino Slang Presents” is a series of cinema screenings programmed by Andy Rector at the EPFC. It continues the cinematographic and historical excavations, proceedings by montage and association, silent alarms and naked dawns of this thirteen-year-old blog.