Milestone Films

Dziga and His Brothers

Click here to stream now on:

The fascinating and tumultuous lives of Mikhail, Boris and Denis Kaufman (better known as Dziga Vertov) are the focus of this powerful documentary. Using rare archival footage from Russian state film archives and private collections, the brothers' lives and art are traced from Bialystok to Moscow, Paris, and Hollywood.

Philadephia Weekly by Sam Adams

The Coppola clan has nothing on the Kaufmans, a family of geniuses to rival the Tenenbaums, even if their names may not immediately click in your head. Practitioners of impossible shots, editing/camera tricks and improvisation in general, brothers David, Moisey and Boris get highlighted in Yevgeni Tsymbal's succinct Russian doc. David Kaufman became Dziga Vertov, a last name he chose because it was Polish for "spinning top"-which is a perfectly apt description of his 1929 opus Man With the Movie Camera. If Movie Camera's not the best documentary ever made, it's at least the most visually ravishing. (As pointed out frequently enough to diminish its merits, the post-MTV filmmaker generation-and Leni Riefenstahl-would be nowhere without it.) The other two brothers went in different directions, though Moisey worked alongside Dziga on Movie Camera before their estrangement turned him into one of Dziga's doc-making rivals. (From the clips we see, he's just about his equal, too.) Boris, meanwhile, spread the style westward, first to France to work with Jean Vigo (L'Atalante), then to America, garnering him both an Oscar for shooting On the Waterfront and frequent employment by Sidney Lumet.

VILLAGE VOICE by J. Hoberman

David, Moisey, and Boris Kaufman—"perhaps the most talented brothers in the history of cinema" per film historian Yevgeni Tsymbal—were born in Bialystok (the "most Jewish town in Poland") to a used-book dealer and a rabbi's daughter. The town suffered a major pogrom during their childhoods, and their parents would eventually perish in the Holocaust, but the Kaufman brothers attended Russian school and reinvented themselves in the crucible of revolution: David most radically as docu-visionary Dziga. Mikhail (né Moisey) worked with his older brother—he is the title character in The Man With a Movie Camera—until they quarreled and he too became a director. Baby Boris went first to France, collaborating with Jean Vigo, and then to America. Dziga was targeted during Stalin's Cold War anti-cosmopolitan campaign; he suffered a heart attack and died in obscurity months before Boris won an Oscar for shooting On the Waterfront.

This DVD is also available for Institutional Purchase, which includes public performance rights and a 3-year streaming license. Please click on the “Format” button and select “DVD Institutional Rate.”

 An Explanation of Home, Classroom, and Public Performance Rights

Individuals and non-profit institutions purchasing DVDs, DVD-Rs, or Blu-rays — or streaming — at published home-use sale and rental prices are authorized to use the film only for private home screenings and legitimate classroom showings (a regularly scheduled class with an instructor present), per the United States Copyright Law. You can learn more about the distinction between classroom and public performance screenings here.


Through our distribution partner, Kino Lorber, Milestone provides a variety of licensing to suit all needs. Our standard institutional licensing packages are designed to provide colleges, universities and qualified non-profits with the best value for multiple uses, and our one-time community screening licenses allow any organization to exhibit high-quality films for a reasonable fee. Please note that all licensing carries restrictions on audience numbers and/or geographic range.


  • CLASSROOM RIGHTS allow unlimited use in face-to-face classroom situations for the life of the media, restricted to a single campus or location. Please note that this license doesn't include public screenings or digital transmission of any kind.
  • PUBLIC PERFORMANCE RIGHTS (PPR) allow educational and nonprofit groups to exhibit our films to groups of 100 or fewer individuals where admission is not charged. The term of the public performance license is for the life of the DVD. However, if you intend to charge admission, expect an audience over 100, or publicly advertise the screening, then we ask that you contact us regarding an exhibition fee. Films purchased without Public Performance Rights are restricted for individual viewing or face-to-face teaching in the classroom only.
  • DIGITAL SITE LICENSES (DSL) allow colleges, universities and nonprofits to locally host and stream to their community on a closed, password-protected system for the life of the digital file.
  • K-12 PPR comes with limited performance rights so films can be shown in classrooms, at PTA meetings, during after school programs, and transmitted on a closed-circuit system within a K-12 school building or on a single campus. 

For all educational licenses and screenings, please Estelle Grosso, Director of Educational and Non-Theatrical Sales & Distribution at Kino Lorber (Milestone’s distribution partner) at:

The purchase of DVDs, DVD-Rs, and Blu-rays at the institutional rate by anyone outside of a North American non-profit educational institution does not grant rights for public performance or streaming.

Any continuous or loop screenings as part of a museum exhibition must also be licensed separately. Inquiries must be negotiated directly by emailing

Information for Exhibitors Screening DCPs and Film Prints

All bookings must be made by email correspondence with George Schmalz, Director of Theatrical Sales at Kino Lorber (Milestone’s distribution partner) at: to negotiate terms and insure a screening copy is available. An order is only finalized when Kino Lorber sends written confirmation.

DCPs are shipped insured for their cost via Federal Express or UPS and must be returned the same way or by an equivalent method. Shipping and handling charges for outgoing DCPs appear on your invoice. The immediate return or transshipment (as directed) of all DCPs is your responsibility.

DCPs should be returned to:

Milestone Film & Video
38 George Street
Harrington Park, New Jersey 07640-0128
United States 

35mm and 16mm prints are shipped insured for their cost via Federal Express or UPS and must be returned the same way or by an equivalent method. Please do not ship prints back via US Mail. Exhibitor pays to ship both ways. Shipping and handling charges for outgoing prints appear on your invoice. The immediate return of all prints is your responsibility.

Prints should be returned insured for $1,000 to:

Iron Mountain
Attn: Milestone Account
235 Main Street
Little Falls, NJ 07424

For public screenings, advertising materials can be requested by contacting

Milestone is the exclusive licensor for all the titles in this catalog, all of which are available from Milestone’s distribution partner Kino Lorber. in their complete versions.


Or you might like...

Recently viewed