And 5 more
gigitralaine | 06/15/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Vertov's _Man with a Movie Camera_ is not only the hallmark of Russian Constructivist film but one of the greatest films ever made, no hyperbole intended. Vertov's main premise was to create a new city, an Utopian ideal, through montage and editing. The scenes in the film are taken from footage of the three Russian cities of Kiev, Moscow and Odessa. Unlike many of the other reviewers, I would have to suggest watching the film with the sound off (at least once.) The music, although originally composed by Vertov, has been adapted more recently by the Alloy Orchestra, and can have the tendency to be a distraction. Indeed, Vertov stated that film should be a medium that stands alone, not muddled by the addition of psychology, romance, or music. He placed tremendous value on the camera's ability to distill truth from visual "garbage," with what he termed "Kino-Eye" or "Truth-Eye."Additionally, I would recommend reading Vlada Petric's meticulous still-by-still dissection of the film---_Constructivism in Film : The Man With the Movie Camera : A Cinematic Analysis (Cambridge Studies in Film)_, as well as Andrei Bely's novel _Petersburg_, which Nabokov cited as one of the four most important literary works of the 20th century and deals in part with a similar urban improvement motif, and of course Vertov's own theoretical writings _Kino-Eye: The Writings of Dziga Vertov_."
wdanthemanw | Geneva, Switzerland | 04/17/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I love silent movies. The grammar of the cinema has been invented during this period. It's amazing to discover that what seems to us truly original or personal in most of our today geniuses was already there in these black and white movies, even in a better way. I am conscious that it demands a peculiar effort to the 1999 movie fan, but the reward is great.THE MAN WITH A MOVIE CAMERA is a 1929 russian movie directed by Dziga Vertov. A breath-taking musical score has been recorded for the reissue of this movie a few years ago. I still have this music in my head three days after having seen the picture ! You will also find in this DVD a really instructive commentary which is absolutely necessary if you want to appreciate all the subtleties of THE MAN OF THE MOVIE CAMERA.This motion picture is a kind of manifesto, without screenplay. It could have been a documentary but it's not. Certain moments are not so far from the surrealism one can find in the movies of Luis Bunuel shot at the same period. Other scenes of the movie are lessons of cinema that could have been given by, let's say, a Jean-Luc Godard. For instance, Vertov films a train coming with great speed towards the camera, then the man with the movie camera shooting the scene, then the audience watching the train coming on the screen. At this moment, one remembers that one of the first movies ever filmed was, in 1896, the entrance of a train in a french railway station. The audience screamed and left the room in a hurry, 35 years later no one moves.If you are curious about cinema, if you definitely consider it as an art, if you like to have images haunting your mind during days, then you really should consider THE MAN WITH A MOVIE CAMERA asA DVD for your library."
Steven Hellerstedt | 09/11/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"THE MAN WITH THE MOVIE CAMERA is a film you're either going to love or hate, and it's unlikely you'll find a comfortable mid-ground. It's silent, Russian made, experimental. It opens with a manifesto rejecting inter-title cards, and an affinity to or reliance on theater and literature. It won't reject any of the tricks of cinema, though - including stop-action animation, slow motion, and at times dizzying, machine fire montages. It uses documentary footage to tell its story.
Although it doesn't tell a traditional story the movie does have a structure. It opens in an empty movie hall, records a projectionist queuing up reel one. Cuts to the hall, stop-action animates chairs unfolding. Cuts to the orchestra - conductor's baton is raised, the orchestra is readied and suspended. Enter audience. Love it or hate it, this movie never forgets it's a movie. I loved it. And I loved when the projector started and the real movie started.
And that journey - the one the movie takes - is well described by the second American title, `Living Russia.' We seem to spend most of the movie following a man with an old, hand-cranked, tripod supported movie camera as he travels through some Russian city or other. We, over his shoulder, seem to go everywhere and observe everything - a young woman sleeping in bed, people sleeping on park benches, store-front mannequins at rest. Eventually the woman and bench sleepers awake, the mannequins are animated, and we travel in time through the work and recreational life of a city. Then it's to the foundry, the cigarette packing plant, the beach, the volleyball court....
Some people will find this art house movie terribly self-absorbed and its lack of a conventional narrative frustrating. If you only like movies that throw a good story at you probably won't care much for this film. If you're not sure give this one a try - beneath it's lack of `story' is a fascinating story written on celluloid, vibrant, wry, and witty.
A uniquely fascinating 1929 Soviet 'documentary'.
Herbert M. Bryant Jr. | Tampa, FL USA | 07/05/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was curious to see "Man With the Movie Camera" ever since reading 'Kino-Eye', the director's rather bombastic manifesto about the virtues of nonfiction film making. Soon after the DVD was released, I ordered it online. I was not at all disappointed upon satisfaction of my curiosity.
The film is all montage, not story or lecturing, and makes a fetish of modernization and industrialization. It derives its power from the pure artistry of editing, from the rapid justaposition of images and of snippets of action from everyday life.
There's something about the total effect of Dziga Vertov's film, its zestful "sense of life", its manic energy, that may especially (and very surprisingly) appeal to fans of Ayn Rand, the anti-Soviet novelist who left the USSR for the USA during the mid-1920s and who went on to eventually write Atlas Shrugged.
It's interesting that Vertov is considered one of the trailblazers of cinema verite, the recording of the quotidian as-it-happens, whereas his film is actually a collage of kinetic images symphonically woven into an architechtonic whole of visual and spirtual unity. A product of organizing intellect, not mere assemblage, his documentary does not so much 'document' as utterly transform -- it is not so much true-to-life as true-to-vision."