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Facts and Life: Osip Brik in the Soviet Film Industry

Renfrew, Alastair

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Of the former members of OPOIAZ who became involved in the cinema in the mid-1920s, Osip Brik pursued the most radical theoretical programme, ultimately arguing for the primacy of ‘material’ – or fact – over invention. This partially aligned him with other members of LEF engaged in the cinema, such as Sergei Tret’iakov, and with the broad avant-garde preference for documentary over ‘played’ film. Brik also briefly occupied a significant position in the creative administration of the Mezhrabpom studio and, although many of his scripts remained unfilmed, two significant examples were produced in the late 1920s – Potomok Chingis-Khana/Storm over Asia (Pudovkin, 1929) and 2-Bul'di-2 (Kuleshov and Agadzhanova, 1929–30). The production histories of these films painfully demonstrate the contradictions between Brik’s theoretical and polemical writings and the practical realities of the film industry. They also form a platform for a broader examination of the contradictions inherent in LEF film theory, as well as the contradictions that remained – both for Brik and more generally – after the debate around kino fakta had been curtailed by accelerating shifts in the political and ideological climate as the 1930s dawned.


Renfrew, A. (2013). Facts and Life: Osip Brik in the Soviet Film Industry. Studies in Russian and Soviet Cinema, 7(2), 165-188.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jul 1, 2013
Deposit Date Mar 23, 2012
Publicly Available Date Feb 19, 2015
Journal Studies in Russian and Soviet Cinema
Print ISSN 1750-3132
Electronic ISSN 1750-3140
Publisher Taylor and Francis Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 7
Issue 2
Pages 165-188
Keywords Formalism, LEF, Mezhrabpom, Osip Brik, Kino fakta.
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