dedicated to the HYPERKINO film annotation method

srp 30 2012
Christian Gosvig Olesen answers the question "What is Hyperkino? Ruscico's Academia DVD series and the historical-critical film edition" in his blog
Natasa Drubkova, 30. 8. 2012 12:37, 0 komentářů
Tagy easter eggs, hyperlinks, Manovich, DVD, Ruscico, Academia, Drubek, Izvolov

The original text is in Danish. Some extracts from Christian's blog: 

"DVD releases since the mid-nineties hospitalized so-called easter eggs in a film in the form of hyperlinked icons somewhere in a movie picture frame, which at a click could provide access to hidden extras. The difference of such a current use and Drubek-Meyer and Izvolovs principle is that hyperlinks here are set in a system in order to follow academic standards of film analysis. Because the Hyperkino format us based on the principle of the historical-critical book version  in this format represented by numbers that systematically act as a footnote comment on a film that uncovers a film's style, historical context and genesis.

As a DVD format Hyperkino materialized a couple of years after the article by Drubek-Meyer and Izvolov as a series KinoAcademia published by RUSCICO. The format was launched with Lev Kuleshovs debut film Proekt inzhenera Prayta (USSR, 1918). Not only was it the first time the film was available digitally – according to film historian Kristin Thompson it has long existed only in a version without the text that left the impression that the film was not complete. In keeping with the proclamation in the article, the DVD release comprises one textus and one apparatus disc.

And then about the Hyperkino  "Happiness", "Izvolov's darling":

"Nikolai Izvolov, both passionate and insightful  on Medvedkin and his contemporaries"..."That movie was one of the most powerful reasons why he chose to dedicate his life to film history. It was therefore without much hesitation that I wanted to buy this movie first..."

"The film includes a total of forty notes, and there seem to be three thematic tracks that dominate the annotations:

The film's distribution and censorship history.
The film's iconography with special reference to the film's references to Russian folk tales and the visualization of these, as well as by Russian sayings.

What is fascinating about the Hyperkino format is not just the written footnotes. If it had just been written notes I would personally probably have had the feeling that as a communication format it would have been a bit too static. This where the method really shows its strength. It lies in the way it includes a large number of documents from the film's production, reception and research on the film. ...

The best feature by Hyperkino format is the movie clip that is included in the footnotes. Here the visual motifs in Schastye can be related to Medvedkins other films, or to other Soviet film directors such as Lev Kuleshov and Sergei Eisenstein. One note is particularly interesting. It explores how water and falling into water represent a motif that was subject to a formally elaborate grip of the Soviet silent film. The note illustrates how Medvedkin stood out from his contemporaries using the manipulation of film speed with comic effect as a result."

"In the meantime Hyperkino also started experimenting with the ebook format as part of the Hyperkino project. Izvolov's latest book Феномен кино. История и теория on the texts of early Soviet film, sound and color technology (in English: The Phenomenon of Cinema) is the first in a series of books from Hyperkino Publishing, which will launch a series of film books that aspire to experiment with the electronic book."

Hyperkino used plus a few corrections. Sorry for the not very perfect English.

čvn 29 2012
The first book published by Hyperkino Publishing is a beautiful iBook by Nikolai Izvolov. Check it out on itunes!
Natasa Drubkova, 29. 6. 2012 02:55, 0 komentářů

kvě 17 2012
Hyperkino is on facebook (11 May 2012)
Natasa Drubkova, 17. 5. 2012 16:29, 0 komentářů

Hyperkino is on facebook (11 May 2012)

kvě 11 2012
Another Bologna Nomination for a Hyperkino DVD: "Okraina" / "Outskirts" (Barnet) - Annotations by Bernard Eisenschitz
Natasa Drubkova, 11. 5. 2012 20:53, 0 komentářů


Nominated in the 9th DVD Competition, Cinema Ritrovato, Bologna: "OUTSKIRTS (Russia/1932) di Boris Barnet – Ruscico Russian Cinema Council (Hyperkino DVD)"  

Among the nominations are also:

THE DEVILS (UK/1971) di Ken Russel – British Film Institute (dvd)

MARKETA LAZAROVÁ (Repubblica Ceca/1967) di František Vláčil – Národní filmový archiv (bluray)

FRIEDRICH II. UND DER FILM (1910 – 1932 – 1936 – 1957 – 1962) – Absolut Medien Gmbh – Filmmuseums Potsdam (dvd) 

dub 26 2012
"The Event of the Week: Hyperkino in the Eisenstein Library of Film Art", Moscow / Событие недели / «Hyperkino в Библиотеке...
Natasa Drubkova, 26. 4. 2012 11:48, 0 komentářů
Tagy Ekaterina Khokhlova, Moscow, Velikii uteshitel', Кулешов, Великий утешитель, Хохлова, Изволов, Izvolov, Ruscico, Akademia, Kuleshov, The Great Consoler

The first Hyperkino presentation in Moscow. With Ekaterina Khokhlova and Nikolai Izvolov. 

«Библиотека киноискусства им. С. М. Эйзенштейна»,  ул. Каретный ряд, д. 5/10, стр.2.

"The Event of the Week: Hyperkino in the Eisenstein Library of Film Art", Moscow / Событие недели / «Hyperkino в Библиотеке...

"The Event of the Week: Hyperkino in the Eisenstein Library of Film Art", Moscow / Событие недели / «Hyperkino в Библиотеке...

bře 13 2012
"Happiness, it would appear, is a film demanding of context" (more from the DigitalFix)
Natasa Drubkova, 13. 3. 2012 00:29, 0 komentářů
Tagy fairytale, Chris Marker, Medvedkin, Izvolov, Hyperkino, DVD

"The need for context arises from the dense web of reference that surrounds Happiness. Whilst this is, ostensibly, a silent comedy it also plays as political satire and an elaborate riff on Russian folklore and fairy tales."

"In the case of Happiness this means a wealth of information to be accessed whilst viewing, ranging from notes and illustrations to film clips and facsimiles of relevant documents."

"To complement the images we find a pleasing simple score, consisting for the most part of either piano or light percussion. It never intrudes, which is as it should be. As far as I can tell this is the same accompaniment which adorned the Marker restoration, though it should be noted that the version here has one key difference. Whereas Marker constructed his own French intertitles, the Ruscico disc retains the original Russian designs. As the annotations make clear, their design and usage does more than merely forward the narrative, rather they play a key role in creating a very specific tone. Once again, such occurrences didn’t even register with me on an initial viewing, which only goes to demonstrate just how valuable these Hyperkino editions. Happiness is a terrific piece of cinema under whichever circumstances you happen to view, but any appreciation can only be enhanced with this disc’s additions. There is a genuine richness to its many undercurrents and reference points and, consequently, that makes this set just as rich an education."

"Happiness, it would appear, is a film demanding of context" (more from the DigitalFix)

"Happiness, it would appear, is a film demanding of context" (more from the DigitalFix)

"Happiness, it would appear, is a film demanding of context" (more from the DigitalFix)

bře 06 2012
Kuleshov's film about energy from peat (1918): Anthony Nield thinks that with Hyperkino "Engineer Prite’s Project" proves to be a "meaty" viewing...
Natasa Drubkova, 06. 3. 2012 19:04, 0 komentářů
Tagy Engineer Prite’s Project, film 1918, american, russian, soviet montage, Kuleshov, Bauer, hyperkino, torf, peat, oil

"…Engineer Prite’s Project becomes as much an action film - complete with chases and tussles - as it does a political parable. 
This blend is an interesting one, particularly in the manner in which it separates the film from the then-current norms of Russian and Soviet cinema. Even at the tender age of 18, Kuleshov clearly had grand ideas for his brand of filmmaking, one that would both reflect the modernism of the times and pay a hefty homage to the American cinematic styles of the time. Here is a tale of engineers and electricity - key signifiers of the new era - told with a new brand of editing heavily influenced by the US style of filmmaking and soon to become its own distinctly Soviet technique. (Kuleshov’s future students included Vsevolod Pudovkin, Boris Barnet and, for a brief time, Sergei Eisenstein.)"

Bauer -- Kuleshov:

"Kuleshov served as a production designer under Bauer, creating the interiors of palaces, grand homes and the like. In part owing to its tiny budget and in part thanks to his ideas on what his particular brand of cinema should represent, the young director largely eschewed such elaborate artifice for his debut feature. Engineer Prite’s Project was mostly shot on location, utilising a mostly inexperienced cast, and with that comes an appealing immediacy. At times the out-in-the-open action recalls a sequence from one of Feuillade’s classic serials. Arguably the various bits of Westernised attire and paraphernalia - cloth caps and tweed jackets, women in trousers, men smoking pipes - add to this sensation too. There’s a freshness to the film, as a result, that proves itself to be quite infectious, even in this fragmentary form."

And here, about hyperkino:

The narrative is coherent enough as it stands, albeit with certain developments suffering from being too briskly dealt with or lacking in sufficient detail. Nevertheless what we do have represents a fascinating piece of Soviet cinema and one that is ably adorned with a wealth of contextualising material in this ‘Hyperkino’ edition from Ruscico. Thanks to the various annotations that can be accessed whilst viewing we are able to read Kuleshov’s full treatment for the film or view an alternative edit or understand exactly how this represented a cut-off point in Russian cinema, separating the distinctive style of Bauer from what was to follow. We can even sample some of Bauer’s work to back up such claims, noting both the lessons learned by Kuleshov and the ways in which he offered his own spin on them or a complete disavowal. There’s even an hour-long documentary devoted to the director that is only a click away. The end result is a disc that is easily the equal of the current standout Kuleshov release, Edition Filmmuseum’s excellent handling of his 1926 feature By the Law. That film may very well be his masterpiece, but in this particular edition of Engineer Prite’s Project we have an extremely valuable insight in their director’s early career and as such both should be considered just as essential."

Comparing different hyperkino annotations:

"In comparison to the earlier reviewed By the Bluest of SeasEngineer Prite’s Project is certainly the more expansive of the two in terms of these various annotations. Whereas that disc’s note were wholly text-based, here we find clips, documents and a full-length documentary to accompany the numerous mini-essays which combine both academic and anecdotal analysis to relate the film’s background and significance. As said, all of this is entirely welcome and uniformly excellent, raising the thirty-minute running time to a much meatier - and ultimately far more satisfying - viewing experience."

bře 06 2012
More on the Hyperkino edition of "U samogo sinego…" – by Anthony Nield on Thedigitalfix
Natasa Drubkova, 06. 3. 2012 18:43, 0 komentářů
Tagy music, Kuleshov, reconstruction, Barnet, Hyperkino

"Viewed as a visual poem, or as an early example of the inventive (even experimental) talkie, By the Bluest of Seas is a wonderful experience."

About the series:

"By the Bluest of Seas has been released by Ruscico (the Russian Cinema Council) as part of their Hyperkino series. Six of the series have been picked up MovieMail to distribute in the UK, the others in the series being Eisenstein’s Strike and October, Lev Kuleshov’s Engineer Prite’s Project and The Great Consoler, and Alexander Medvedkin’s Happiness. (Click here for further information.) The format is a simple one, but effective. Essentially the films come in two-disc editions, one of which presents the main feature with a variety of the subtitle options, whilst the other contains an annotated edition in either English or Russian. These annotations are available throughout the film and signified by a number appearing in the corner of the screen. Press the ‘enter’ button on your remote at this point and some relevant information appears onscreen. These are mostly text-based, but occasionally will involve facsimiles of original documentation, a short clip or two, even a full-length documentary (Engineer Prite’s Project contains an hour-long doc on Kuleshov, for example, amongst its annotations). In the case of By the Bluest of Seas, all additional notes were text only, but that doesn’t prevent a wealth of information being revealed. Here we find anecdotal notes taken from cast and crew reminiscences and biographies, not to mention analysis of key moments, a highlighting of technical devices and reference to the reaction of critics, audiences and Barnet himself, who reportedly hated all of his films and apologised for them regularly!"

led 18 2012
„U samogo sinego moria” / “By the Bluest of Seas” (1936, Boris Barnet, Samed Mardanov), Hyperkino Annotations by Milena Musina
Natasa Drubkova, 18. 1. 2012 10:38, 0 komentářů
Tagy Nicole Brenez, Boris Barnet, Hyperkino Editon of "By the Bluest of the Seas", Milena Musina, Elena Kuzmina, Moviemail, Ruscico

The most recent review of a "lovely, windblown 'cinematic fairytale'" by Graeme Hobbs:

J.Rosenbaum‘s upgraded "Glimps of a Rare Bird":

Rosenbaum calls this film (together with "Okraina") a "masterpiece".

"Okraina" and "A Girl with a Hat Box" by Barnet will soon be available from Moviemail, in Hyperkino editions, featuring annotations by Bernard Eisenschitz and Aleksandr Deriabin.

Hear Nicole Brenez on "Sensual Editing" in “By the Bluest of Seas” and its reception in France:

„U samogo sinego moria” / “By the Bluest of Seas” (1936, Boris Barnet, Samed Mardanov), Hyperkino Annotations by Milena Musina

led 13 2012
Hyperkino DVDs Available Now From Moviemail, UK
Natasa Drubkova, 13. 1. 2012 19:21, 0 komentářů
Tagy Moviemail, United Kingdom, DVD, Hyperkino, Kuleshov, Barnet, Eisenstein, Medvedkin

Eisenstein, Kuleshov, Medvedkin and Barnet

"Classic Russian cinema on DVD, presented in the innovative Hyperkino format created by Natascha Drubek and Nikolai Izvolov, produced by Ruscico and distributed in the UK by MovieMail. 
The films are presented in 2-disc 'hyperkino editions' which features the standard film, with optional subtitles, on one disc, with the second disc featuring numerous scene-specific annotations, video clips and documents (in Russian and in English) that can be viewed on screen and which contextualise the film and enhance the viewer's understanding. 
It is one of the most exciting developments in DVD for years, and especially valuable for important works of world cinema whose historical contexts crave further exploration." (Moviemail)

lis 16 2011
Natascha Drubek's Talk in Mainz: "Hyperkino. Filme mit Fußnoten" 15/11/2011
Natasa Drubkova, 16. 11. 2011 00:45, 0 komentářů

"Film Future / Film Studies" –
Institut für Filmwissenschaft & Mediendramaturgie der Johannes Gutenberg-Universität zu Mainz 

říj 21 2011
Julian Graffy tells the story of HYPERKINO. Read detailed reviews of all RUSCICO Akademia DVDs which have come out so far
Natasa Drubkova, 21. 10. 2011 17:25, 0 komentářů
Tagy O‘Henry, Hyperkino annotations, Riabchikova, SRSC, Kuleshov, Eisenstein, Medvedkin, Tsivian, Khokhlova, Izvolov, Drubek

Studies in Russian and Soviet Cinema, Volume 4, Number 3, 1 December 2010, pp. 345-354

bře 25 2011
"Vermittelte Revolution" by Joachim Schätz in THE GAP 114
Natasa Drubkova, 25. 3. 2011 14:29, 0 komentářů
Tagy Annotationsverfahren, AbsolutMedien, Kuleschow, "Das Projekt des Ingenieurs Pright", "Der Große Tröster", "Streik", "Das Glück", "Oktober", Filme mit Fußnoten, Russenfilm, Hyperkino, RUSCICO, THE GAP. Magazin für Glamour und Diskurs, Joachim Schaetz

"Hyperkino as one of the most exciting forms of reflection on film one can experience today."

Joachim Schätz (Vienna) calls Hyperkino a "Mediated Revolution" and thinks that Hyperkino is not not only interesting for film historians.

"Vermittelte Revolution" by Joachim Schätz in THE GAP 114

"Vermittelte Revolution" by Joachim Schätz in THE GAP 114

led 06 2011
Preview for Hyperkino DVD of "Gor'ki's Childhood" (1938, M. Donskoi)
Natasa Drubkova, 06. 1. 2011 12:09, 0 komentářů
Tagy Childhood, 1938, trilogy, Mark Donskoi, Donskoy, Donskoj, Maksim Gorkij, Maxim Gorky, Jeremy Hicks, teaser, Hyperkino DVD, Academia, Ruscico, Detstvo Gor'kogo

Coming soon.

lis 14 2010
Kristin Thompson on
Natasa Drubkova, 14. 11. 2010 13:24, 0 komentářů
Tagy The Kuleshov Effect, Shklovski, The Great Consoler, Il Cinema Ritrovato, DVDs, Academia, O. Henry, Kuleshov, Bologna, Hyperkino, RUSCICO

More revelations of film history on DVD

Sunday | October 24, 2010

The Great Consoler

The launch of a Russian DVD series

The Russian Cinema Council (RUSICICO) has recently released the first five DVDs in its new “Academia” series. The first group comes from the Soviet silent and early sound era: Strike, October, Happiness, The Great Consoler, and Engineer Prite’s Project. They can easily be ordered on the company’s website. Googling will find a few smaller online companies in Europe that sell them, but they are not available (yet, at least) from the larger sites like Amazon.

A major feature of these discs is “Hyperkino,” a version in which numbers appear at intervals in the upper right; clicking on them summons up an explanatory text. For Strike, for example, one can read an explanation of the “Collective of the 1st Works’ Theater” when that phrase appears in the credits. (The complete text of the annotations for Engineer Prite’s Project have been printed as an article in Studies in Russian and Soviet Cinema [Vol. 4, no. 1, 2010].) These “footnotes” would be of interest to film students, mainly at the graduate level; they would be invaluable for lecture preparation. The Hyperkino version appears on the first disc of each two-disc set; the film without the feature appears on the other disc. Despite the fact that the text on the boxes are almost entirely in Russian, the films have optional subtitles in English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, and Portuguese; the Hyperkino notes are available only in Russian or English. The discs have no region coding.

The prints of Strike and October are both the familiar step-printed versions. The visual quality is reasonably good.

(We did not purchase the Happiness disc, since the film had already been available in DVD and we’re not Medvedkin specialists.)

The most important contribution of the series so far has been to make two rare Kuleshov titles available to the general public for the first time. Engineer Prite’s Project was his first film. Previously it was available in archives in a print lacking intertitles. The story was so difficult to follow that the film seemed to be incomplete. Now, with the intertitles reconstructed and inserted into the film, it makes sense. It’s a short feature about industrial intrigue, notable in its mixture of traditional European tableau staging style and some sophisticated American-style editing that was a complete innovation for Russian cinema. The release of Engineer Prite’s Project on DVD fills a large gap in the history of the Soviet silent cinema, since it was the first film by one of the group that would form the Montage movement. Indeed, the fast cutting in a brief fight scene looks forward to that movement:

The DVD also includes a documentary, The Kuleshov Effect, made in 1969. It’s a helpful overview, with clips from the major films up to The Great Consoler, along with interviews with Kuleshov, scenarist and Russian Formalist critic Viktor Shklovski, and others. It’s just under an hour and would be a great teaching tool for a history or theory class.

If Engineer Prite’s Project is of interest mainly for its historical significance, The Great Consoler is perhaps Kuleshov’s masterpiece. The complex, multi-leveled narratives so popular in contemporary cinema have nothing on this film’s storytelling. It shifts among three levels with thematic parallels. In one, an abused, miserable shop girl (played by Alexandra Khokhlova, Kuleshov’s wife and leading proponent of the “biomechanical” school of acting) reads O. Henry short stories as escapism. In another, O. Henry himself is seen in prison (as he was in real life). In a third, we see a dramatization of his tale of convict Jimmy Valentine (“A Retrieved Reformation”). Each level is filmed in a slightly different style, and the moralistic lesson–those who suffer from exploitation under capitalism find only hollow consolation in popular culture–is somewhat undercut by the zestful stylization with which Kuleshov presents the sentimental tale of Valentine. […]

We often complain about seeing films for the first time on DVD when they were meant to be seen on celluloid projected on the big screen. But for rare silent films like these Chaplin shorts, DVD replaces the old 8mm and 16mm prints that I remember from my graduate-school days in the 1970s. Our friend and colleague Frank Scheide, who was writing his dissertation on Chaplin’s music-hall background, would present programs of such prints in his home, but there were items that remained elusive. (Frank has co-edited two anthologies on Chaplin’s later films; see here and here.) Now we’re lucky enough to have archives restoring films in part to make available in the new format. Most of these images are far better quality than 8mm or even 16mm could render.

As with the giant Georges Méliès boxed set released in 2008, the new Chaplin discs make it easy to go through his career in strict chronological order, either as the films were made or as they were released (often not the same thing in those early days). The set is a vital item for collections of silent films and will no doubt feature among the nominees in the DVD awards for next year’s Bologna festival, Il Cinema Ritrovato. Three Hyperkino titles were among last year’s winners.