Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
nonsense-fiend | 11/06/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"DVDs are perfect for this kind of release. In fact, it's the superb quality of reproduction, both sight and sound, that have made the reworking of this classic film through modern eyes (or should I say ears?) possible.
Dziga Vertov created the visual side of this production in 1929 during the period of the first five year plan in Russia. It was primaraly put forward under the guise of a pro-Stalinist propaganda piece, and although Vertov saw himself as a reasonably decent communist, his astounding ingenuity could not be repressed by any earthly ideology, this best demonstrated by the cutting edge photography employed by himself and his camera operators to capture what was after all, a rather repressive and trying era.
Vertov takes some truly dangerous risks by depicting some of the less impressive aspects of soviet society, such as homelessness and poverty, whilst still managing to disguise these incisive observations from the piercing gaze of the party politic through some very fast or just plain impressive editing techniques. You might think you've caught a glimpse of something solidly unpleasant, like a child sleeping in the street, when it's suddenly replaced by something totally unrelated and eccentric, like a camera tripod moving by itself.
How very exciting it must have been then for J. Swiscoe's "Cinematic Orchestra" when they were exclusively commissioned to apply modern but pertinant music to this cutting edge work of old, which until now, has only ever been accompanied by relatively unconnected, slap-up atmospheric "muzak".
The Orchestra are well respected in modern jazz circles, especially in the U.K., and at first glance, they may seem a rather strange choice to undertake what had to be, from the outset, a very delicately handled project. Within five minutes of the film starting however, all concerns on my part were entirely assuaged.
The finished product is nothing short of mind blowing in its crystalline realisation of an almost forgotten man's dream. There has been such care and attention taken to make sure that the music is in no way an intrusion on the film, in fact sometimes, one forgets that the two are separate, which was surely the original intent of the new work's commissioners.
The underlying ideas behind the original film are sensitively but firmly brought forward by the languid jazzy passages, whilst the simple but beautiful fast moving traffic shots etc. are made more exciting by the faster, funkier parts of the score.
The whole piece serves as a wonderfully enlightening treatise on the art of cinema and the music associated with it. If you have even an iota of interest in this sort of thing, then this movie is a must."
Classic avant-garde film and latest avant-garde music
concordia film student | Montreal, Quebec Canada | 02/13/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Dziga Vertov's film is a timeless piece of work. It is a movie that is meant to be discovered and rediscovered through time, and the Cinematic Orchestra has given it the perfect opportunity to be re-released on DVD. Their score is undeniably intelligent, and carries the original effect of the film on viewers to a whole new level. This is a must have for serious film lovers with a sense of modernity."