Moscow; Leningrad: Kinopechat’, 1927. 30,  pp. 17x13 cm. In publisher’s photomontage wrappers. Very good. Spine is slightly rubbed, bleak damp stain on the lower part throughout the book.
First edition. One of 5000 copies. Constructivist photomontage wrappers designed by Alexander Rodchenko.
Little has been written about journalist and writer Ilya Ehrenburg (1891–1967) as an art critic. Even less about him and the cinema. Although the points of intersection are many. For the avantgarde cinema of Russia and France, he was without exaggeration a connecting link, overcoming ideological isolation. This little-known book is the analytical summary of the existence of avant-garde trends in Russian cinema of the 1920s. The circumstances of the emergence of the “Materialization of Fantasy” are similar to the reasons for Erenburg’s appeal to cinema in general — the need to earn money. The brochure was developed following the results of Ehrenburg’s lectures at the GAHN (State Academy of Art Sciences) movie office screenings and performances in the ARC. In June 1926, Ehrenburg gave lectures in Russia “New French Cinema”, which was illustrated with fragments of films: “Napoleon” by Abel Gans, “Vertigo” by Marcel L’Erbier, “Menilmontan” by Dmitry Kirsanov and others (highly unusual even in the experimental 1920s). On March 14, 1924, the writer signed an agreement with the studio ‘‘Kinosever’’ to write a script for the novel ‘‘The Love of Jeanne Her’’. The script has been waiting for its fate for a long time and was eventually banned by the General Repertoire Committee. Ehrenburg tried to arrange a script for domestic studios, in particular at Goskinprom, during a trip to Tiflis in late July 1926. UFA turned out to be quicker: in 1927, the novel was filmed by Pabst. The film aroused the writer’s famous discontent.
In the 1930s, cinema work began to attract him not only economically — the plot of the script that he wanted to propose to Eisenstein arose. However, the results of the decade were not analytical materials about the forefront. Philologist B.Ya.Frezinsky remarked: “If we talk about prose, the last internally free book of Ehrenburg was written in 1928.” The same one can say about this text as well. (Kinovedcheskie zapiski, #97, 2010)
Worldcat locates copies at Getty, NYPL, Houghton Library, Yale, University of Rochester Library.