Dziga Vertov's Man With a Movie Camera [DVD] [1929]

Soviet director Dziga Vertov's experimental film grew out of his belief, shared by his editor, Elizaveta Svilova (who was also his wife), and his cinematographer, Mikhail Kaufman (also his brother), that the true goal of cinema should be to present life as it is lived. To that end, the filmmakers offer a day-in-the-life portrait of a city from dawn until dusk, though they actually shot their footage in several cities, including Moscow, Kiev, and Odessa. After an opening statement, there are no words in the film (neither voice-over nor titles), but the dazzling imagery, kinetically edited, is eloquent enough. This is a celebration of the modern city that concentrates on its buildings and machinery more than its citizens, and it's possible to read its upbeat tone as a vindication of Soviet state progress, though much of the film's ultimate impact is universal. The DVD edition offers a musical score by Michael Nyman that adds greatly to the impact of the film.
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Synopsis


The Man With a Movie Camera
Soviet director Dziga Vertov's experimental film grew out of his belief, shared by his editor, Elizaveta Svilova (who was also his wife), and his cinematographer, Mikhail Kaufman (also his brother), that the true goal of cinema should be to present life as it is lived. To that end, the filmmakers offer a day-in-the-life portrait of a city from dawn until dusk, though they actually shot their footage in several cities, including Moscow, Kiev, and Odessa. After an opening statement, there are no words in the film (neither voice-over nor titles), just dazzling imagery, kinetically edited - as a celebration of the modern city with a marked emphasis on its buildings and machinery. The Image Entertainment DVD edition of the film offers a musical score composed from notes left by the director, which adds greatly to the impact of the film. ~ Tom Wiener, Rovi



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