How Poetic Structure Counters Socialist Realist Narrative in Illienko’s White Bird with a Black Spot

By Herbert J. Eagle (University of Michigan)

© Herbert J. Eagle, 2009

Within the body of films produced by the State-sponsored film industries of the Soviet Union and Communist Eastern Europe, there is considerable correlation between “poetic cinema” and ideologically and politically dissonant film. This is due to the very nature of poetic cinema. Although this term is used in different ways and in different contexts, the films of directors characterized as “poetic” (e.g. Dovzhenko, Paradjanov, Tarkovsky, Illienko) are structured in ways analogous to verbal poetry, which enables them to be polysemic, ideologically acceptable and ideologically dissident at the same time. As noted by Iurii Tynianov in his 1927 essay “On the Foundations of Cinema,” film, like poetry, can operate semiotically with respect to different codes simultaneously. Having in mind the montage cinema of Eisenstein and Pudovkin, Tynianov asserted that cinema operates like verse: “Shots in cinema do not ‘unfold’ in a successive formation, a gradual order—they replace one another ... as a single verse, a single metrical unit, is replaced by another—at a precise boundary. Cinema jumps from shot to shot, just as verse does from line to line” (Tynianov, 93). In his earlier 1924 monograph on verse, Tynianov claimed that poetry produced two competing articulations—one based on sentences and their usual syntactic-semantic linkages and the other based on a comparison of metrical units, the verses, where each unit also relates to the next as images in juxtaposition, creating, topologically if you will, an implied metaphor, an associative rather than a linear causal connection. In his much later work, Iurii Lotman termed the coexistence of two different semiotic systems “bipolar asymmetry” when one system constructs meaning by building it up out of a series of conventional signs, whereas the other operates iconically, on the basis of gestalt resemblances. He claimed that artistic systems always seek such asymmetry and that precisely this gives those systems the ability to create new meaning (Lotman, 127-42; Eagle, 229-47). There are films which are poetic and non-narrative (so-called “experimental films”) and those which use both the devices of narrative systems (say, “classical narrative cinema” or a subsystem of it, like “Socialist Realist narrative film”) and of poetry (in literature, this would be the equivalent of narrative poems, like Pushkin’s novel in verse, Evgenii Onegin).

white birdIt is important here to note that poetry builds equivalent units not only by creating a series of images that are simply presented as such in a rhythmic series, but that the resemblances between equivalent units are established using building blocks that aren’t in and of themselves semantic—patterns of stressed and unstressed syllables, recurrences of particular phonemes or even, more abstractly, of distinctive features—like a recurrence of plosive or sibilant sounds. It isn’t unusual at all, in poetry, to sense a resemblance between verses based on such acoustic features. What’s the equivalent process in film? Anything that can be done in a minimum of two ways has the potential to create associations, “everything that gives the director the freedom to choose one solution or another and the viewer the ability to understand why a particular choice was made” (Lotman and Tsivian, 26; my translation). These are qualities of the image which give the director the ability to develop oppositions between marked and unmarked forms—e.g. the close-up as compared to other distances, skewed angles as compared to straight-on shots, pans or tracking shots as compared to fixed camera position; the marked lighting of “film noir,” “soft focus,” and so on—all of these are sub-semantic modalities that can be used to link shots. Of course, recurrence of particular objects or particular choices of modalities can be motivated by narrative considerations as well. But when objects or marked cinematic devices are used repeatedly, and/or with little narrative motivation, we begin to link the contexts in which the respective features or objects occur associatively rather than narratively (or as well as narratively), creating a more abstract iconic sign. We don’t need a dozen shots of branches filled with round Ukrainian pears to establish that it is harvest time in Dovzhenko’s Earth—it is their recurrence and the specific contexts in which they recur that make them signify death and rebirth and the closeness of human beings to nature.

Viktor Shklovsky noted the finale of Pudovkin’s Mother where the director superimposes, sequentially, shots of the steel gridwork of a factory, the crenelated wall of a Kremlin, and cathedral spires shooting up at 45-degree angles, and then the largest one shooting upward. Shklovsky wrote in his article “Poetry and Prose in Cinematography”: “The film begins as prose [...] and ends with purely formal poesy. Recurring frames, images and their transformation into symbols, support my assertion that this film is poetic in nature [...] there are two types of film, the prosaic and the poetic [...] They are distinguished one from the other not by rhythm, or rather, not by rhythm alone, but by the fact that in a poetic film the technical-formal features predominate over the semantic features. The composition is resolved by formal techniques rather than by semantic methods” (Shklovsky, 130).

white birdThere is a second way in which films are “poetic” as well and this has to do with montage structures designed to create emotions either by inciting them physiologically or by modeling them through visual or aural structures or both. This would be like poets using recurring sounds to create an emotional mood. Such ways of provoking emotions are very different from generating them via identification with a character’s mood or actions. Eisenstein firmly believed in affective montage based on stylistic features. As he wrote in his famous essay “O stroenii veshchei” (“On the Construction of Things,”1939), a montage sequence should be “a construction which [...] serves to embody the author’s relation to the content, at the same time compelling the spectator to relate himself to the content in the same way” (Eisenstein, 168). From his earliest films, Eisenstein used directions of motion within the frame, camera movement, lighting, and graphic elements of set design to model emotions and he confirmed in later writings his belief that emotions could be physiologically provoked in such a way. In Strike, the camera recedes rapidly in front of the outraged workers as they run toward it (the camera runs with them, as it were), just as it flees along with the panicked citizens of Odessa down the famous steps. Tisse, Eisenstein’s cinematographer, went out in a boat into Odessa’s harbor on a very foggy morning and took some shots of boats at anchor, thinking he would get nothing for want of light. Eisenstein used these shots to open the sequence in which the citizens of Odessa pay homage to the martyred sailor Vakulinchuk, later claiming that the perturbations of light and the ripples on the water modeled a subdued sadness. Eisenstein called such effects “overtonal montage” and later expanded the notion to “vertical montage,” a term that he coined in reference to the similarities between film and an orchestral score with its vertical scoring for the different instruments, since a whole array of stylistic variables can be used in concert in film to produce an emotion. Camera movement, in particular, has a long history of association with heightened emotion, and not only in Eisenstein’s films. For example, in that quintessential Socialist Realist film Chapaev, when in the opening scene the eponymous hero rides a troika toward a bridge in order to rally his retreating troops, the camera recedes rapidly at the same pace at which he gallops toward it, carrying the spectator along with his charging motion (and emotion, I would argue). Because realizing such camera movements involved special efforts, they were an infrequent and therefore a marked device.

So what does this have to do with political and ideological dissonance? Within a film narrative, details within shots and choices of stylistic modalities can be patterned through recurrences in different contexts in order to create metaphors. Such structures can often survive the process of vetting scripts and the censoring of finished films. First of all, they often need not be specified in the film script (and, in fact, not infrequently they arise during filming on the initiative of the director or cinematographer) and hence wouldn’t be an issue at that stage of the process. Secondly, within the context of perhaps submerged, as yet unresolved, issues within Party policy, cultural arbiters sympathetic with a particular reformist direction could recognize certain ambiguities or double meanings implied metaphorically and allow them, where they might not be able to afford to allow explicit statements of those meanings. By the time that Illienko made White Bird with a Black Spot(Bilyi ptakh z chornoiu oznakoiu) in 1970, rapid camera movements had already become, in some respects, conventional signs of strong emotions and Thaw directors were putting different patterns of motion to different purposes. In Kalatozov’s Cranes are Flying, for example, different “figures” of camera movement are linked to quite distinct emotions. Straight tracking shots, quite infrequent, are used for civic pathos, for example when the enlistees are departing or when the soldiers return from war at the end of the film. But the passionate, excited young love between Boris and Veronika is conveyed through the repetition of a complex whirling and rising movement, a complicated revolving crane shot. Other extended tracking shots in the film involve obstructing our view with vertical visual interference (slats of fences), as the lovers fail to find each other at the rallying point or as Veronika rushes toward a train in an apparent suicide attempt. In the final analysis, cinematography plays a major role in making the pain of separation, personal passion and personal grief at the ultimate separation, death, and not collective civic triumph, the film’s primary meaning.

white birdIn making a big-budget widescreen film on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the end of World War II, Illienko gives the Socialist Realist narrative elements in White Bird considerable prominence. In Joshua First’s insightful, comprehensive and detailed analysis of competing expressions of Ukrainian nationality in film, in his dissertation Scenes of Belonging: Cinema and the Nationality Question in Soviet Ukraine during the Long 1960s, he conveys the degree of controversy surrounding Ukrainian poetic cinema. Beginning in the Thaw period, these films evocations of Ukrainian national culture were quite different from the filmic formulas which had characterized the “folkloric” Ukrainian nationality of the Stalin era (First, 1-43). The new poetically structured films were linked by some Party critics to so-called “bourgeois nationalism”; this controversy had led Illienko’s first directed feature, A Well-Spring for the Thirsty (1965) to be shelved. Illienko’s White Bird would appear to be unproblematic in this respect, since it includes many Socialist Realist narrative elements which point directly toward a condemnation of Ukrainian nationalism during the World War II period. However, Illienko presents these elements so baldly and in such a preachy rhetorical form (for example, using the sort of canonical Socialist Realist monologues already tacitly repudiated in many Thaw era films) that a sophisticated viewer could easily read this as a sign of forced speech, especially because the film’s poetic structures develop alternative meanings and emotion which undermine the Socialist Realist thematics.

Let me summarize the Socialist Realist elements of the narrative. At the center of the story is a large impoverished Ukrainian peasant family, living under Romanian rule in Bukovina, with the narrative beginning in the spring of 1940 (as a codicil of the Hitler-Stalin non-aggression pact of August 1939, this province is soon to be ceded to the Soviet Union by Romania). The family can’t survive on its meager and unpredictable harvests, so the father also has to work as a smuggler for a wealthy landowner, by swimming across the raging Cheremosh into Polish-ruled Galicia. He also has to hire out his sons as laborers and the younger ones as servants; in addition, the father and the sons form a musical ensemble that earns money by playing at weddings and other festive occasions. Four of the brothers play key roles in the plot: Petro, who is the communist mentor figure in the narrative; Orest, the ideological villain, who later joins the nationalist Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA); Bohdan, who is hidden by his father to keep him out of the war; and Heorhii, the narrative’s main character, who functions largely in a metaphorical, mythical way. The two oldest brothers, Petro and Orest, are in their early twenties; Bohdan is perhaps eighteen; and Heorhii appears to be about twelve when the narrative begins.

Petro and Orest are initially presented as equally defiant of their Romanian overlords and of Ukrainian kulaks who are complicit with the Romanian authorities. When the Ukrainian pan Levyts'kyi says he will hire Petro to play at a wedding, Orest replies, “he’ll play a gay tune at your funeral.” “Your bought and sold like cattle and yet you are proud,” says Levyts'kyi. “You’ve been sold out, too,” retorts Petro (he apparently knows that Bukovina is about to be ceded to the Soviets). Petro is arrested and he plays a defiant lively tune as he is marched off to prison by soldiers. He soon escapes and finds Orest and Bohdan working in a high pasture, telling them that the Soviets are across the river and will arrive in a day or two. We also see, in several scenes, that these three brothers are all courting the priest’s daughter, Dana, who seems attracted most to Petro. But in a long speech to her, Petro explains that as long as his people are enslaved, he is not free to love her—his only path is the forest or jail. His motivation here seems class-based rather than nationalistic.

white birdWhen the Red Army arrives, it is greeted warmly by the father, offering the traditional bread and salt in the name of the whole village, but the salt is from his wife’s tears. Their son Mykola has just died; the father believed that the Soviets would have the medicine to cure him, but they didn’t arrive in time. During this scene, a Red Army soldier, Ivan, uses a tractor to pull up the border marker dividing the previously Polish and Romanian territories from the middle of the Cheremosh, thus symbolically uniting Ukraine and simultaneously liberating it from feudal oppression. Out of annoyance with Petro, Dana flirts with Ivan, who, seemingly in jest, says that he will marry her. But some months later, while the three brothers are off working in the forest, they learn that Ivan and Dana are indeed to be married. At the wedding, the brothers and their father must play as a hired band. Ivan, with a lovely speech, gives his half of the traditional wedding loaf to his brigade commander, his “mother and father.” A dance begins; suddenly, Orest jumps from the band’s platform and begins a passionate dance with Dana, a sequence whose stunning cinematography undercuts the legitimacy of Dana’s marriage to Ivan, implying instead that Orest is her true soulmate. Suddenly, the outbreak of war with Germany is announced (it is June 1941). Ivan must leave with his brigade immediately and Petro enlists on the spot as well. Dana and Orest escape into the forest on white horses. They become lovers (apparently, Dana was marrying Ivan only out of spite), but after one night together they are captured by a Hutsul unit that is part of the nationalist insurgent army. Orest is compelled to join them on pain of death, and Dana accompanies him. As the narrative advances three years (to 1944), we see that Orest has become the unit’s second in command and that he has clearly adopted its position of collaboration with the Nazis in order to defeat the Soviets.

In 1944, Petro returns to Bukovina with the communist partisans. He delivers a long Socialist-Realist speech to his father and Bohdan (who has been hiding throughout the war), urging both to join the Red Army, which they do. He goes to the forest and shouts out to Orest an even longer speech, telling Orest that he is on the wrong side, that if he doesn’t change he will come to hate himself, be hunted down like a wild animal, and die in disgrace. From high on the hill, Orest trains his gun on Petro, but Dana prevents him from shooting. A little later, when Orest appears to defend the Nazi’s extermination of Roma, Jews, and the mentally ill, Dana flees from him. In another cinematographically marked sequence, Orest pleads with her to stay as both run down the mountainside (and the camera runs with them). But she refuses him and returns to her cottage.

The Russian soldier Ivan reenters the narrative as well. He and Petro use a tractor rigged with logs as a minesweeper to rescue the priest and a religious procession, but, in a subsequent scene, Ivan is tied to a tractor (with Petro attempting to rescue him) by the Ukrainian nationalists, the tractor is doused with gasoline, and both are sent to a flaming death (Orest tries to prevent this, but is held back by his men). Toward the end of the film, with the war over, Orest returns to the village. Slamming three thousand rubles in paper money down on the platform of a group of musicians, he orders a final dance with Dana, who emerges from the woods. This is another striking sequence cinematographically. After the dance ends, the villagers, led by an accusing Bohdan (who looks like an avenging angel), pursue Orest along the riverbank and shoot him. There is another flash forward in time. Heorhii and a pregnant Dana return to the village. And in a final flash forward to the early 1950s, the village is erecting a monument (a tractor!) to the war’s fallen martyrs, the Red Army heroes. Heorhii has become the village doctor and he disarms and treats the now-demented priest (who had been sympathetic to the nationalists).

The narrative is countered by two dominant aspects of the film’s poetic structure; Heorhii’s narrative line and the cinematography in Orest’s major scenes. Heorhii seems to function in a fairy tale world completely separate from the war, as does Dana when she is with him, and as does Vivdia, the village prostitute and sorceress. If Petro is the Socialist Realist mentor and Orest the antagonist, we would expect the young Heorhii to be, perhaps, the so-called “positive hero.” But he is a Ukrainian culture hero instead. He is fascinated by both the Christian and the pagan aspects of Ukraine, as represented by Dana and Vivdia, respectively. In his first extended sequence in the film, he contemplates an icon of St. George (his namesake) slaying a serpentine dragon. Then, instead of bringing home money for his family in exchange for smuggled clocks, he returns with a lovely music-box icon of the Virgin Mary, which transfixes his mother as well.

white birdHeorhii, Dana and Vivdia are all repeatedly associated with “totemic” birds: Dana with a white dove; Vivdia with a rooster; and Heorhii with a stork, the white bird with a black mark of the film’s title (this makes Heorhii the film’s eponymous hero, so to speak). When Heorhii tries to chases a stork away from the family’s chimney (because he has heard that storks bring babies and his family has more than enough mouths to feed), his mother admonishes him with the following story: “the stork was once a man; God gave him a sack containing the world’s evil things and told him to throw the sack over a cliff without looking into it; the man disobeyed and when he opened the sack, he let all of the vile and evil things out into the world. As punishment, God turned the man into a stork and ordered him to inhabit the swamps and bogs until he had cleansed the world of all of the slimy evil things that live there.” Indeed, later in the film we see a shot of a stork spearing a snake, an image which bears a clear resemblance to St. George spearing the dragon in the icon.

Heorhii has a series of adventures, intercut with the war narratives, and until close to the end of the film he pays no attention to the war; there’s no indication that he even knows there is a war. He climbs through the branches of an apple tree, biting into apples one-by-one and discarding them with a frown; this shot is reminiscent both of Dovzhenko’s apple trees in Earth and of a very similarly framed shot in Paradjanov’s Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (1964), a film for which Illienko was the cinematographer. When Vivdia asks him if he is stealing her apples, he replies that he is seeking knowledge of good and evil. Heorhii, although he is the serving-boy and ward of the priest, tries to hatch a devil’s egg in his armpit. He plans to feed it nettles and other evil things so that it will grow strong and protect him. The priest admonishes him for this, but Heorhii replies that “might makes right.” Dana rolls through a meadow with Heorhii (in another one of a number of scenes which echo Illienko’s work in Paradjanov’s Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors), playfully steals the egg, and tells Heorhii that she wishes his devil would protect her, too. Vivdia charms Heorhii by rubbing dough along her thigh and having him eat the resulting roll; she tells him this will make him fall in love with her. He says that he will marry her and three years later he does, rescuing her from being disgraced by the village women, and marrying her in a ceremony which he himself conducts. Thanks to him, she is transformed from a prostitute into a princess. In retelling all of this, I have given the impression of a more coherent narrative than the film itself conveys. Heorhii’s scenes are interspersed with the Socialist Realist story material; scenes with Dana and scenes with Vivdia alternate unpredictably; the film never explores Heorhii’s motivations or his plans. In fact, it is difficult for the viewer to construct a story-line for Heorhii; virtually every scene he is in comes as a complete surprise. Only the poetically encoded recurrences, the interweaving of objects which become symbolic through the contexts in which they occur, give to his story an iconic meaning. By marrying Vivdia (who, soon after, is killed by the Romanians and their German ally) and by returning to the village later with the pregnant Dana, Heorhii mediates between pagan and Christian Ukraine. He seeks the knowledge and the power to defeat evil, but he does so not in a Marxist or Soviet sense, but because he is destined by God to do so. In the film’s final sequence, Heorhii has become the doctor of his village, now a collective farm, but his placement in this Socialist Realist denouement is pure deus ex machina; there is no resemblance whatsoever to the path to political consciousness that a “positive hero” is supposed to travel.

In the early parts of the film, Orest is a rival first of Petro and then of Ivan for Dana’s love (Ukraine’s love, if you will). At the wedding of Ivan and Dana, Orest leaps down from the musicians’ platform and begins an energetic and passionate dance with her (still 1). In the immediately preceding shots, Dana and the other dancers were seen in long shot, but when Orest leaps to the floor the camera begins to whirl around him and Dana as they dance around each other, capturing the dancers in medium shots and close-ups. These are very complicated shots from a technical point of view; making them involved building a circular track around the dancers, with the camera cart spinning around it as the dancers spin around each other. As the couple dances, they slide their arms sensuously along each other’s. The camera begins to whirl around them so rapidly that the surrounding crowd in the background becomes a blur; then the crowd, as if by magic, seems to disappear entirely. It is the cinematographic equivalent of “dizzy with passion,” analogous to the way the love between Boris and Veronika is treated in Kalatozov’s Cranes are Flying and the love between Ivanko and Marichka in Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (of course, by Illienko himself).

white birdThis dance between Orest and Dana is reprised at the film’s climax (in 1944, three years later in the story). Now Orest has returned to the village as a reviled traitor, accused not only of collaborating with the Nazis but also of killing his own brother Petro and the Russian soldier Ivan. Dramatically, he pays three thousand rubles for a final dance to be played. As if she had been waiting for his return, Dana emerges from the forest to dance with him. Both are dressed in black. Their ensuing dance repeats the same movements as the earlier one and once again the camera whirls around them. But the dance is slower this time; the arms touch with a tenderness and compassion akin to comforting a lover in pain and mourning (still 2). Finally, Dana rests her head on Orest’s chest as they dance. At the end of the dance, she falls to her knees before him as if before the crucified Christ (still 3). Indeed, in the very next sequence Orest will be pursued by Bohdan and the villagers and will be executed. But before he is shot, he reaches out, grasps Bohdan’s hand, and kisses it. The scene echoes Biblical moments, but it is Orest, the ostensible Socialist Realist villain, who is the one whose death has the feel of martyrdom.

Orest’s flight at this finale is filmed by a moving camera which runs along with him and the pursuing villagers. This camera movement echoes an earlier one when Orest, begging Dana not to leave him (she is running from him because she has discovered that he is collaborating with the Nazis), chases her down through the forest and along a sheer rock face (still 4). This sequence was also realized as a headlong flight of the cinematographer along with his subjects as they run down the mountainside. It binds the characters not only to each other and to the viewer, but also to the landscape, the forest and the mountains that are emblematic of Hutsul Ukraine (and, once again, the scene echoes a similar flight of Ivanko and Marichka in Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, when the children ran through the forest together and the camera “ran” with them). The characters are part of the landscape, deeply interwoven with it. Even though, in terms of the narrative logic of the story, the two above scenes in White Bird feature opposed characters (Orest versus Dana, Orest versus Bohdan) it is their essential unity with Ukraine that is emphasized.

A similar sequence, even earlier in the film, featured the brothers’ ride down the Cheremosh on a log raft, with the camera on the raft as it plunges downstream (still 5). This shot is absolutely exhilarating for the viewer, like a ride down a rollercoaster, only we are shooting down the rapids with evergreen forests on both sides. The shot emphasizes the essential unity of Petro, Orest and Bohdan and binds them to the surrounding scenery of the Hutsul Carpathians as their inalienable land, aiming to produce, via camera movement, the very same sense in the viewer.

white birdIn contrast, the exploits and the political martyrdom of Petro and Ivan, the Socialist Realist model characters, are filmed in a remarkably undramatic way. The rescue of a religious procession from a minefield, potentially a daring and exciting sequence, looks rather routine and not particularly dangerous when filmed in long-shot from high above the field (still 6). When Orest and his men arrive and seek revenge on the Soviets by tying Ivan to a tractor and setting it on fire, Petro breaks free and leaps on the tractor as well, trying to untie Ivan as the slowly moving tractor burns. But the flames used in filming this sequence seem too evidently to be in a plane in front of the tractor rather than actually on it (still 7), giving the entire sequence an inauthentic look. The very slow and steady camera movement also de-dramatizes the sequence. Yes, Petro and Ivan do all the right things in the narrative from a Socialist Realist standpoint, but when they do, little is done cinematographically to move the spectator, to generate strong emotion. Orest’s actions are objectively wrong in a Marxist, Soviet, and Socialist Realist sense, but they are filmed in such a way as to stir the viewer viscerally.

In spite of all of the film’s Socialist Realist trappings, the poetic organization of symbolic objects in Heorhii’s story advances Ukrainian religious and cultural meanings and the cinematography in Orest’s scenes mark his fiercely nationalistic sentiments (embodied in his love for Dana) with compelling passion, thereby validating them. As Joshua First points out in his insightful analysis of the film’s reception, First Party Secretary of Ukraine Petro Shelest overrode the wishes of Communist Party officials in Western Ukraine who tried to limit the film’s distribution there (First, 288-99). Shelest’s encouragement of the film’s distribution was consistent with his sympathies for expression of Ukrainian national culture over a long period of time. It would seem that Shelest, who liked the film and supported its distribution, and those Communist Party bosses who opposed it, all felt that the film’s poetically generated “nationalist” meanings were much stronger than the narrative’s canonical Socialist Realist message.


Works Cited

Eagle, Herbert. “Bipolar Asymmetry, Indeterminacy, and Creativity in Cinema,” in Andreas Schoenle, ed., Lotman and Cultural Studies: Encounters and Extensions. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2006: 229-47.

Eisenstein, Sergei. “The Structure of the Film,” in Eisenstein, Film Form: Essays in Film Theory, ed. Jay Leyda. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1949: 150-178 [English translation by Leyda of Eisenstein’s “O stroenii veshchei” (“On the Construction of Things”) in Iskusstvo kino 6 (1939)].

First, Joshua. Scenes of Belonging: Cinema and the Nationality Question in Soviet Ukraine During the Long 1960s. Ph.D. Dissertation. University of Michigan, 2008.

Lotman, Iurii. Universe of the Mind: A Semiotic Theory of Culture, trans. Ann Shukman. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1990.

Lotman, Iurii, and Iurii Tsivian. Dialog s ekranom (Dialog with the Screen). Tallinn: Aleksandra, 1994.

Shklovsky, Viktor. “Poetry and Prose in Cinematography,” in S. Bann and J.E. Bolt, eds. Russian Formalism. New York: Harper and Row, 1973: 128-130. English translation by T. Aman from the Russian original in Poetika kino (Poetics of Cinema), ed. Boris Eikhenbaum. Moscow and Leningrad: Kinopechat', 1927.

Tynianov, Iurii. “On the Foundations of Cinema,” in Herbert Eagle, ed., Russian Formalist Film Theory. Ann Arbor: Michigan Slavic Publications, 1981: 81-100. English translation by Z. Breschinsky and H. Eagle from the Russian original in Poetika kino (Poetics of Cinema), ed. Boris Eikhenbaum. Moscow and Leningrad: Kinopechat', 1927.