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Sketches of the Soviet City

1929, First Film Studio VUFKU (Odesa), 29 min

 Dmytro Dalskyi
 Dmytro Dalskyi, Oleksandr Indlin
Yurii Tamarskyi
 Volodymyr Kaplunivskyi

The “city symphony” about Kharkiv, the capital of the Ukrainian SSR of the 1920s, is interesting both because of its avant-garde form, dynamic editing and good camera work while also because of the unique footage of urban space and routine of that time. Sketches of the Soviet City is an important document of the early Soviet urbanism where you can see the famous building of Derzhprom, Palace of Labour, Berezil theatre, shops and plants, factories and cinemas. 

Sketches of the Soviet City was filmed in the spring and summer of 1929. The film also known as Ukrainian Capital was made by graduates of Odesa State Cinema Technical College and was announced as “a great kulturfilm that will comprehensively demonstrate Kharkiv’s life.” At that time, the trend for “city symphony” was set by Kinoks who in the same 1929, released two films about Ukrainian cities; in Man With a Movie Camera Dziga Vertov and Mikhail Kaufman film Kharkiv, Odesa and Kyiv, while Mikhail Kaufman’s directorial début In Spring is totally focused on Kyiv.

For the film director, a Komsomol member Dmytro Dalskyi, Sketches of the Soviet City became the second student work after the agitation newsreel Report of the Kharkiv City Council made with the cameraman Dmytro Soda in December 1928. Later, in partnership with Liudmyla Snizhynska Dalskyi made an anti-fascist film Maybe Tomorrow (1932) and finally settled on the documentary genre. 

And the film cameraman Yurii Tamarskyi assisted Danylo Demutskyi, was friends with Oleksandr Dovhzenko, and later, made the first Ukrainian colour film The Fair at Sorochyntsi (1939). In the end of World War II, he emigrated to Brazil where he made more than 30 documentary films, facilitated in launching the production of colour films and filmed the first Brazilian colour film. 

In 1960, Tamarskyi moved to the USA, and in co-authorship with Slavko Navytskyi he made Shevchenko in Washington, an iconic film for the Ukrainian diaspora.