Man with the Movie Camera

This week I watched the 1929 silent film Man with the Movie Camera by Russian director Dziga Vertov. This film is an experimental documentary capturing the real lives of ordinary citizens in Russia engaging in various everyday activities/events, from pedestrians walking on the streets, workers operating machineries, people relaxing on the beach, people attending a funeral, and a mother giving birth. There is neither a plot nor main characters, but an artistic sequence of shots of various activities. This experimental documentary was produced during the Russian movement of filmmakers called kinoks who were devoted to using film to depict the real life working class as opposed to creating refined and commercialized cinema. This film is regarded as experimental and well-known because of its wide use of numerous cinematic techniques, such as jump cuts, tracking shots, slow motion, fast motion, motion played backwards, and stop motion animation. Although this film is silent, its consistent use of these captivating techniques, especially the rapid cross-cutting between two events, builds and maintains a rhythm without the need for a film score.

Here’s a youtube link to the film.

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