Pudovkin and Pavlov's dog.
'Pudovkin and Pavlov's Dog' is concerned with a group
of films which are well known but comparatively little discussed.
It analyses Pudovkin's major silent films (Mother,
The End of St. Petersburg, Storm over Asia and Mechanics of
the Brain) and his writing on film in the 1920's, attempting
to investigate how one area of work might illuminate
the other and how this places Pudovkin amongst his contemporaries,
notably Kuleshov and Eisenstein.
The influence of Pavlov in Soviet art practice and
theory is similarly frequently cited but rarely examined.
This thesis attempts to answer some basic questions as to
why his research should have been appropriated when and how
it was. Crucial to this project is the examination of
Mechanics of the Brain, showing how Pavlov was popularly
(rather than academically) understood. It also tries to
establish what means Pudovkin employed to assemble an adequate
filmic exposition of Pavlov's scientific proof, as an
opening to his notion of logical construction in general:
Pudovkin repudiates Vertov's theoretical principle that the
camera can simply seize material unawares from life.
Pavlov was rooted in and contributed to the same intellectual
tradition in which Marxism was founded, but the
Soviets looked to Pavlov for scientific (that is to say, objective)
corroboration of their undertakings. The thesis is
organised around a number of debates in which this paradox
is seen to operate, each accompanied by analysis of a particular