Inspired by a true story, Woman with an Editing Bench pays homage to the creativity of Elizaveta Svilova – the unsung editor behind Dziga Vertov's 1929 documentary masterpiece Man with a Movie Camera (No 1 on the Sight and Sound list of Best Documentaries of all time). It uses her revolutionary editing techniques to reveal her thoughts and recuperate her legacy in the history of cinema.
Woman with an Editing Bench is about sustaining creativity and fighting repression. In 1930s Russia, Dziga Vertov and Elizaveta Svilova make radical, groundbreaking films. Stalin, threatened by their innovations, wants his henchmen to suppress them. Vertov, unhappy and artistically constrained, is inept at working with the bureaucracy.
Svilova knows how to work the system laterally and from behind the scenes – as all great editors do. She is also adept at working with Vertov's mind, understanding what he wants to say and how he wants to say it. Svilova's editing makes Vertov's genius possible. Vertov's eccentricity makes Svilova's editing genius indispensable.
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