The Man with a Movie Camera

Man with a Movie Camera film poster
I watched The Man with a Movie Camera several times, not because, as some people do, I loved it so much that I must watch again and again. No, just happened. Someone told me it was a great film and I watched. After that I used it in a video work, and watched more two times to choose the best scenes. One more in a class of cinema history, one more in documentary, one more for edition classes, and… well I saw at least one more time, to check that the film was uploaded without any problem.
Just coincidence, but it’s a fabulous film, it’s a masterpiece of avant-garde, of film edition history and visual ideology. If someone asked me about any avant-garde film of Russian film, or silent film to watch, I would suggest The Man with a Movie Camera.
Realised in 1929 by Dziga Vertov, this film is part of his Kino-Eye theories and experiments at cinema language and edition. His brilliant film shows a city as live organism, composed by the citizens and workers, the city wake up, go to work, lunch, has a great time with its fellows and go sleep. The city at Dziga’s film is modern, is full of energy, is the ideal of perfect working, it’s the city in his splendour.
The man with camera
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 closeups, tracking shots, footage played backwards, and a self-reflexive storyline.
For me those are enough reasons to watch it. Some will say that no, because it’s propaganda. Yes, you are right, it’s a marvellous soviet propaganda in a all its plenitude. It’s not Triumph of the Will, that is visually great, it’s not October another masterpiece that clearly seems the soviet revolution idea. The Man with a Movie Camera is more subtle, its sells the ideal of a great and modern city to live and the soviet ideology is veiled.
All this was just an excuse to say that it’s in public domain and on-line at Internet Archive and Google Video. That’s not the perfect way to watch this film and the soundtrack with this on-line version isn’t my favourite (actually I don’t know who did the soundtrack of the version that I like), but it helps for time.
More precious masterpieces of soviet montage, and some not so brilliant but interesting soviet films from 1920’s are on-line. I made short list about and I hope that this awaken your interest for search for more. Enjoy and take a look at this excellent gallery of Russian movie posters (via La Ventana Indiscreta)
Chess Fever (Shakhmatnaya goryachka) directed by Vsevolod Pudovkin and Nikolai Shpikovsky (1925): article (Fr), video here or here
Entuziazm: Simfoniya Donbassa (Enthusiasm) directed by Dziga Vertov (1931): video
Glumov’s Diary (Dnevnik Glumova) directed by Sergei Eisenstein (1923): video
Kinoglaz (Kino Eye) directed by Dziga Vertov (1924): download and videovideo
October (Oktyabr) directed by Sergei Eisenstein (1928) – articlevideo
The End of St. Petersburg (Konets Sankt-Peterburga) directed by Vsevolod Pudovkin (1927): video
The Man With a Movie Camera (Chelovek s kino-apparatom) directed by Dziga Vertov (1929): articledownloadvideo
The Battleship Potemkin (Bronenosets Potyomkin) directed by Sergei Eisenstein (1925): articledownloadvideo
Three Songs of Lenin (Tri pesni o Lenine) directed by Dziga Vertov (1934): download and videovideo
The Battleship Potyemkin - poster
PS.: I will make a post about Eisenstein at another time.
Related post: Silent Films, More Films and Soundtracks

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6 Responses to The Man with a Movie Camera

  1. karramarro says:

    I don’t know what’s your favorite soundtrack. But I love the soundtrack that cinematic orchestra did for this movie.

  2. zazoo says:

    i like your blog but don’t have much time to read all now, i’ll come back, see you

  3. Bibi says:

    Ah, not the one karramarro. I think is a mix of the original with sounds added.
    Ok zazzo, come back later 🙂

  4. Marnie says:

    Great post, Bibi, and thanks for the link 😉
    It’s nice to see you on active and so productive again 🙂
    Like zazoo, I don’t have much time to see all links and videos, but I’ll try to do it gradually.

  5. Ed Weekly says:

    How odd. I just saw this movie the other day. It’s fascinating. Russia looked so optimistic in this in 1929. It’s too bad Hitler and Stalin came along and hosed everything.

  6. Bibi says:

    Thanks Marnie, come back later. 🙂
    Yes, those moviemakers have a brilliant vision of URSS future. Well, the magic finished earlier for Eisenstein that tried to scape and kill himself after.
    Hitler, Stalin, Franco , Mussolini, Mao, Bush… it’s a huge list. 🙁

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