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Thread: Man With a Movie Camera (1929)

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Ottawa Canada

    Man With a Movie Camera (1929)

    This is a great work of cinematic art.

    Dziga Vertov created a trailblazing silent film that is absolute dynamite.

    Eisenstein said that the process of editing is the one thing that separates the film medium from all other artistic endeavors, and this film has a zillion edits. The editing is in the rhythm of life itself, and it is one kinetic, pulsating non-verbal experience.
    Vertov edited it with Yelizavela Svilova and the film was photographed by Mikhail Kaufman.

    The rapid-fire edits make the film come to blinding life, which is Vertov's real talent.
    The casual viewer would probably scoff, pointing to the fairly normal stuff that is captured on film: trolley cars, pedestrians, buildings, people doing regular things like getting their hair done, going to the beach, having a baby- yes, umbilical cord and all!, locomotives, waterfalls, magic tricks performed for kids, etc etc. But man, it's the editing and the shot angles. All are endlessly interesting.
    Vertov had an eye brother. But the real element that kicks this film into the stratosphere of cinema greats: the score.

    The score is sheer genius. It was a commissioned project performed by
    THE ALLOY ORCHESTRA and it might be the best score to a film I've ever heard. They really knock it out of the park. No shit. With each new "movement" of the film the score moves with it. With dazzling, foot-stomping, bang-your-head power. I kept thinking "this movie would be so much less without the score" and how Vertov would've been very very proud of what the Orchestra did for his film. The VHS sleeve said that this movie is modern, and it is. It's better than most pieces of shit films produced today.
    It's one dynamic ride baby.
    Everything is tried here: slow motion (Riefenstahl must've seen this and got inspired for Olympia. I instantly thought of her and her 1936 Games film when I saw all of the slo-mo athlete shots), reverse playbacks (chess & checker boards), cars going full-tilt, bicycles, rooftop shots, middle of streets, on train tracks and trains, suspended buckets- check out the waterfall coverage!

    The film is about following a single cameraman with his 5-foot tripod mounted Zeiss, as he films the citizens of the Soviet Union doing whatever they do.

    I gotta buy this one on DVD because I think it would be a wild ride when blasted at home- I watched at the Ottawa U sober and was damn impressed, so at home with some vino and mass hash...Look out mama!

    The ending is Great.
    Please check it out. You'll be glad you did.
    Last edited by Johann; 12-23-2010 at 02:00 PM.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd


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