Chicago Sun-Times - 01/18/1999
"...A film about the act of seeing....The music, a driving, hurrying rhythm that sometimes pauses to collect itself, is upbeat, and so is the film's spirit..."
Entertainment Weekly - 01/11/2002
"...Dziga Vertov's film-school staple is the benchmark for many of the movie thrills we take for granted..."
Wall Street Journal - 02/21/2013
"[With] remarkably sophisticated examples -- montages, action shots, symbolic images -- of what cinema alone can do."
Not merely a cinematic portrait of a day in the life of a city, cinema pioneer Dziga Vertov's MAN WITH A MOVIE CAMERA is an experimental manifesto of vision. Controversial when it was created in 1929, the film still pulses with the unruly energy and innovation of Vertov's genius. Subverting and criticizing the conventions of capitalist fiction filmmaking that he so despised, Vertov and his revolutionary Kino-Eye crew (including his wife as editor and his brother as cameraman--both of whom appear in the film) created a plethora of filmic devices in order to comment on vision, life, Marxism, and modernity. Differing film speeds, superimposition, evocative and manipulative editing, and rhythmic graphic composition all blend seamlessly in a magic show of life above and below the city. Shooting shops, traffic, children, coal miners, workers, human bodies, and nature, Vertov creates visual rhymes and graphic portraits of the structure of life and the explosion of perception. MAN WITH A MOVIE CAMERA took part in the city symphony genre that was popular at the time (BERLIN: SYMPHONIE OF A GREAT CITY is another example) but transcended it in its critical distance, sheer innovation, and sublimely fluid vision of man, machine, and society.
This landmark silent masterpiece from Soviet avant-garde director Dziga Vertov stylishly highlights the buzz of everyday city life as seen through the eyes of a roving cameraman.
Big City |
Mikhail Kaufman, the director of photography, was also Vertov's brother.
A second episode of MAN WITH A MOVIE CAMERA was created by Kaufman without Vertov, as the brothers had a falling-out shortly after MAN WITH A MOVIE CAMERA's premiere and never worked together again.
The film's editor, Elizaveta Svilova, was also Vertov's wife.
Vertov, Kaufman, and Svilova formed the core of a group of experimental communist filmmakers who called themselves Kino-Eye, attempting to forge a new language of film that did not depend on capitaslist-dominated fictional conventions.