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Man With A Movie Camera [VHS]
Top Customer Reviews
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_.
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 as
A DVD for your library.
I will, however, concur with the previous reviews that this IMAGE DVD Edition is outstanding. The transfer has been digitally remastered from a 35mm negative and features an electrifying new score, which, though newly composed for the DVD, follows Vertov's own music instructions, and is recorded in full, crisp stereo sound. The superb transfer presents the film with vertical black bars, thus preserving the film's original aspect ratio. And, as if that isn't enough, the film is accompanied by an informative audio essay by Yuri Tsivian.
Some DVD producers have concluded that it is not worthwhile to invest time and money into engineering quality releases of silent films. Thus, it is encouraging to find an outstanding DVD edition of such a groundbreaking film from the silent era. This DVD belongs in the library of any serious film lover.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Gorgeous. Makes me wish versions of this were made for every city and country in the world in 1929. While *Man with Movie Camera* had a more ambitious project than documentary, the... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Albert
The inside look at 1920 Russias history and culture from the poor to the rich. A wonderful look at early special effects and the photographer was 'fearless'Published 5 months ago by Penelope McQuarrie
A cinematic masterpiece that becomes more enjoyable with every viewing.Published 5 months ago by David B.
A treat for the eyes! Follow the Man With a Movie Camera as he reflects on a day in the city. The quiet tempo of a city asleep picks up to a crescendo as the city, and it's... Read morePublished 6 months ago by ohoy
Wonderful! A classic. Great insight into what life in a Russian city was like between the world wars.Published 8 months ago by Amberjack915
A very innovative film that captures life in early 20th Century Russia and works even though there are no explanatory scene titles or text.Published 9 months ago by Arnold Kahn
If you think cinema can and should do more than simply tell stories in traditional character-driven narratives, then Dziga Vertov’s sublime 1929 avant-garde debut silent feature... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Film Buff
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