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Man with a Movie Camera
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Author:  wiz [ 11 Mar 2013 06:28 ]
Post subject:  Man with a Movie Camera

Man with a Movie Camera

Man with a Movie Camera (Russian: Человек с киноаппаратом, Chelovek s kinoapparatom — sometimes called The Man with the Movie Camera, The Man with a Camera, The Man With the Kinocamera, or Living Russia) is an experimental 1929 silent documentary film, with no story and no actors, by Russian director Dziga Vertov, edited by his wife Elizaveta Svilova.

Vertov's feature film, produced by the Ukrainian film studio VUFKU, presents urban life in Odessa and other Soviet cities. From dawn to dusk Soviet citizens are shown at work and at play, and interacting with the machinery of modern life. To the extent that it can be said to have "characters," they are the cameramen of the title, the film editor, and the modern Soviet Union they discover and present in the film.

This film is famous for the range of cinematic techniques Vertov invents, deploys or develops, such as double exposure, fast motion, slow motion, freeze frames, jump cuts, split screens, Dutch angles, extreme close-ups, tracking shots, footage played backwards, stop motion animations and a self-reflexive style (at one point it features a split screen tracking shot; the sides have opposite Dutch angles).

The film has an unabashedly avant-garde style, and emphasizes that film can go anywhere. For instance, the film uses such scenes as superimposing a shot of a cameraman setting up his camera atop a second, mountainous camera, superimposing a cameraman inside a beer glass, filming a woman getting out of bed and getting dressed, even filming a woman giving birth, and the baby being taken away to be bathed.

The film also features a few obvious stagings such as the scene of a woman getting out of bed and getting dressed and the shot of chess pieces being swept to the center of the board (a shot spliced in backwards so the pieces expand outward and stand in position). The film was criticized for both the stagings and the stark experimentation, possibly as a result of its director's frequent assailing of fiction film as a new "opiate of the masses.


Dziga Vertov’s Soviet silent masterpiece (1929).

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