On the Wings of Hypothesis
Collected Writings on Soviet Cinema
256 pp., 7 x 9 in, 37 b&w illus.
- Published: October 13, 2020
Annette Michelson's erudite and incisive readings of the revolutionary films of Sergei Eisenstein and Dziga Vertov, collected for the first time.
This posthumous volume gathers Annette Michelson's erudite and incisive readings of the revolutionary films of Sergei Eisenstein and Dziga Vertov, giving readers the opportunity to track her sustained investigations into their work. Michelson introduced American audiences to Soviet cinema in the early 1970s, extending the interpretive paradigm she had used for American filmmakers of the mid-twentieth century—in which she emphasized phenomenological readings of their work—to films and writings by Eisenstein and Vertov. Over four decades, Michelson returned again and again to what she calls, following Eisenstein, “intellectual cinema”—the deliberate attempt to create philosophically informed analogues for consciousness.
The volume includes Michelson's major essays on Eisenstein's unrealized attempts to make movies of both Marx's Capital and Joyce's Ulysses, as well as her authoritative discussion of Vertov's 1929 masterpiece The Man with a Movie Camera. Together, the texts demonstrate Michelson's pervasive influence as a writer and thinker, and her role in the establishment of cinema studies as an academic field. This collection makes these canonical texts available for a new generation of film scholars.
Like the filmmakers with which she is engaged, Annette Michelson's intellectual project is nothing short of passionate. The analytic rigor, the discerning historical and cultural perspectives and the political resonance of these essays are confluent with Michelson's keen perception and striking associations, while the elegance of the writing also registers her intensely poetic and imaginative engagement.
Noa Steimatsky, author of Italian Locations and The Face on Film