ming movie reviews

in about 100 words or less

Man With a Movie Camera (1929)

Soviet Union 80m, silent (B&W)
Director: Dziga Vertov; Cast: None

man-with-movie-cameraMan with a Movie Camera is a most interesting experiment in cinema which uses a dazzling number of special camera techniques and visual effects to portray daily life in the early 20th century. In modern visual terms, this film might best be compared to Godfrey Reggio’s 1982 ecologically minded film Koyaanisqatsi (1983). However, with the industrialized Soviet nation as its principal character, Man with a Movie Camera espouses the benefits of modern industrial life in the communist state and portrays the transformation of nature in a favorable light. Notwithstanding the underlying socialist message, and the obvious staged nature of some of the scenes, the film does accomplish what it set out to do: that is, “provide an authentically international absolute language of cinema” without the aid of theater or literature (Klaus Ming March 2009).

5 comments on “Man With a Movie Camera (1929)

  1. Joachim Boaz

    I’m guessing you’ve seen Berlin: Symphony of a Great City (1927) which heavily inspired Man With a Movie Camera? The funny thing is Vertov’s early works inspired Ruttmann and Ruttmann’s works in turn heavily influenced Vertov… I disliked Berlin: Symphony of a Gear City but understand it’s place in cinematic history…

  2. Klaus

    No, I haven’t seen Berlin: Symphony of a Great City (1927) – but i’ll definitely check it out – thanks.

  3. Joachim Boaz

    I think the problem with Berlin… is simple — it doesn’t have much visual panache — so, it often feels like a boring documentary.

  4. movie guy steve

    I found this film surprising. For me, one of the big selling points was the astonishing soundtrack on the version I watched–I can’t imagine the film without it.

  5. Klaus

    This was amongst some of the first films that I watched from the 1001 list back in early 2009. I was pleasantly surprised as well – and definitely worth a look and a re-watch. I recall having the same feeling toward the soundtrack, now that you mention it. I’ll have to go back and figure out what version I watched.

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This entry was posted on 03/23/2009 by in 1001 List, 1920s, All and tagged .
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