Man with a Movie Camera

Man with a Movie Camera ( Russian : Человек с кино-аппаратом ( Chelovek s kinoapparatom ), Ukrainian : Людина з к ноапаратом ( Liudyna z Kinoaparatom ) – sometimes calledA Man with a Movie Camera , The Man with the Movie Camera , The Man with a Camera , The Man with the Kinocamera , or Living Russia ) [1] – is an experimental 1929 Soviet silentdocumentary film , directed by Dziga Vertov and edited by his wife Elizaveta Svilova .

Vertov’s feature film, produced by the studio VUFKU , presents urban life in the Soviet cities of Kiev , Kharkov , Moscow and Odessa . [2] It has no actors. [3] From dawn to dusk The citizens are shown at work and at play, and interacting with the machinery of modern life. To the extent they can be said to have “characters,” they are the cameramen of the title, the film editor, and the modern Soviet Union they discover and present in the film.

Man with a Movie Camera is famous for the ranks of cinematic technical Vertov invents, deploys or Develops, Such As double exposure , fast motion , slow motion , freeze frames , jump cuts , split screens , Dutch angles , extreme close-ups , tracking shots played backwards, stop motion animations, and self-reflexive visuals (at one point it features a split-screen tracking shot;

Man with a Movie Camera was widely dismissed upon its initial release; the work’s quick-cut editing , self-reflexivity , and emphasis is formed over happy Were all subjects of criticism. In the British Film Institute’s 2012 Sight & Sound poll, however, the film is the best film ever made , [4] and the work was later named the best documentary of all time in the same magazine. [5]


The film has an unabashedly avant-garde style, and emphasizes that movie can go anywhere . For instance, the film uses such scenes as a superimposing camera, a movie camera, a movie camera, a movie camera birth, and the baby being taken away to be bathed.

Vertov’s message about the prevalence and unobtrusiveness of filming was not yet true-cameras, but not without being noticed; They were too wide to be easily, and too much to stay. To get footage using a hidden camera, Vertov and his brother Mikhail Kaufman (the movie’s co-author) had to be distracted by the filming them citation needed ] .

The film also features a few obvious stagings such as the scene of a woman getting out of bed and getting ready to go to bed. position). The film was criticized for both the stagings and the stark experimentation, possibly a result of its director’s frequent assailing of fiction film as a new “opiate of the masses. Citation needed ] ”

Vertov’s intentions

In this shot, Mikhail Kaufman acts as a cameraman risking his life in search of the best shot

Vertov – born David Abelevich Kaufman – was an early pioneer in documentary film-making during the late 1920s. He belongs to a movement of filmmakers known to the kinoks , or kino-oki (kino- eyes ). Vertov, along with other kino artists, declared their mission to abolish all non-documentary styles of film-making. This radical approach to film making led to a slight dismantling of film industry: the very field in which they were working. Most of Vertov’s films were highly controversial, and the kinok movement was despised by many filmmakers of the time. Vertov’s Crowning Achievement, A Man with a Movie Camera , A Sixth Part of the World. Critics had declared that Vertov’s overuse of ” intertitles ” was inconsistent with the film-making style to which the ‘kinoks’ subscribed. quote needed ]

Working within that context, with the anticipation of the film’s release. He asked for a warning in the Central Soviet Communist newspaper, Pravda , which spoke directly of the film’s experimental, controversial nature. Vertov was worried that the film would be destroyed by the public. citation needed ] On the official release of Man with a Movie Camera , Vertov issued a statement at the beginning of the movie, which reads:

“The movie Man with a Movie Camera represents

Of visual phenomena
(a movie without intertitles)
(a movie without a scenario)
(a movie without actors, without sets, etc.)

This new experimentation work by Kino-Eye is directed towards the creation of an authentically international absolute language of cinema on the basis of its complete separation from the language of theater and literature.

This manifesto echoes an earlier one that Vertov wrote in 1922, in which he disavowed popular films he felt were indebted to literature and theater. [6]

Stylistic aspects

Working within a Marxist ideology, Vertov strove to create a futuristic city that would serve as a commentary on existing ideals in the Soviet world. This artificial city has been adopted by the Soviet Union through the process of understanding and action. The kino’s aesthetic shined through his portrayal of electrification, industrialization , and the achievements of workers through hard labor. This could also be viewed as early modernism in film.

Some-have mistakenly Stated That Many visual ideas, Such As the quick editing, the close-ups of machinery, the store window displays, Even the shots of a typewriter keyboard are borrowed from Walter Ruttmann ‘s Berlin: Symphony of a Great City (1927 ), which predates Man with a Movie Camera by two years, but as written by Vertov in 1929, [7] these techniques and images had been developed and used by him in his Kino-Pravda newsreels and documentaries for the last ten years, all of which predate Berlin . Vertov’s pioneering cinematic concepts by Ruttmann and others, writer, translator, filmmaker and critic Liu Na’ou (1905-1940)The Man Who Has Camera (1933), country explicit to Vertov’s The Man With a Movie Camera . [8]

On a technical note, Man with a Movie Camera’s use of double exposure and seemingly ‘hidden’ cameras made the movie come across as a very surreal montage rather than a linear motion picture. Many of the scenes in the film contain people, which change size or appear different objects ( double exposure ). Because of these aspects, the movie is fast-moving. The sequences and close-ups capture emotional qualities, which could not be fully portrayed through the use of words. The film’s lack of ‘actors’ and ‘sets’ makes for a unique view of the everyday world; one that, according to a title card, is directed towards the creation of a new cinematic language that is “[separated] from the language of theater and literature.”


Man with a Movie Camera , depicting the daily life of a Soviet city, was actually filmed over a period of about 3 years. Four Soviet cities – Kharkiv , Kiev , Moscow and Odessa – Were the shooting locations. [9]



Man with a Movie Camera was not a highly regarded work. Vertov’s Soviet contemporaries criticized his focus on the subject of Sergei Eisenstein’s film “pointless camera hooliganism”. [10] The work was widely dismissed in the West as well. [11] Documentary filmmaker Paul Rotha said that in Britain, Vertov was “considered really as a trick,” and “it’s all about trickery, and we did not take it seriously.” ” [12] The pace of the film’s editing – more than four times faster than a typical 1929 feature, with approximately 1,775 separate shots – also disturbed some viewers, includingThe New York Times ‘ reviewer Mordaunt Hall :

“The producer, Dziga Vertov, does not take into consideration the fact that the human eye is fixed for a certain space of time which holds the attention.” [13]

Because of Doubts before screening, and great anticipation from Vertov’s pre-screening statements, the movie Gained great interest shown before Even being white citation needed ] . Once the film was finally screened, the public was either dismissed Vertov’s stylistic choices.


Man with a Movie Camera is now one of the greatest movies ever made , having ranked in the 2012 Sight & Sound poll of the world’s best movies. In 2009, Roger Ebert wrote, “It is made and made possible by the astonishing gift of cinema, of arranging what we see, ordering it, imposing a rhythm and language on it, and transcending it.” [14]


Man with a Movie Camera has been interpreted as an optimistic work. [15] Jonathan Romney has called it “an exuberant manifesto that celebrates the infinite possibilities of what cinema can be.” [16] Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian wrote que la work “is Visibly excited about the new medium’s possibility, dense with ideas, packed with energy: it echoes Un Chien Andalou , anticipates Vigo ‘s About Nice and the New Wave Generally, and even Riefenstahl ‘s Olympia . ” [17]


The film, originally released in 1929, was silent, and accompanied by live music. It has been released a number of times with different soundtracks:

  • 1983 – New composition [18] was performed by An Instant Musical Drama , based on Vertov’s writings from which his Ear Laboratory. Electronic sounds, ambiences, voices were mixed to the 15-piece orchestra. An LP [19] had been issued in 1984 on GRRR Records .
  • 1995 – New composition was performed by the Alloy Orchestra of Cambridge, Massachusetts , based on notes left by Vertov. [20] It incorporates sound effects such as sirens, babies crying, crowd noise, etc. Readily available on several different DVD versions. [21]
  • 1996 – Norwegian composer Geir Jenssen (aka Biosphere ) was commissioned by the Tromsø International Film Festival to write a new soundtrack for the movie, using the director’s written instructions for the original accompanying piano player. Jenssen wrote half of the soundtrack, turning the other half to Per Martinsen (aka Mental Overdrive). It was used for the Norwegian version Mannen med filmkameraet at the 1996 TIFF. [22] This version of the film has not been re-released elsewhere, but the soundtrack was released separately with Jenssen’s contributions on Substrata 2 in 2001 and Martinsen’s on an album of the same name in 2012 [23].
  • 1999 – In the Nursery version, [24] made for the Bradford International Film Festival . Currently available on a few DVD versions, often with the Alloy Orchestra score as an alternate soundtrack.
  • 2001 – Steve Jansen and Claudio Chianura recorded a live soundtrack for the film at the Palazzina Liberty, in Milan on December 11, 1999. Kinoapparatom in 2001.
  • 2002 – A version was released with a soundtrack composed by Jason Swinscoe and performed by the British jazz and electronic outfit The Cinematic Orchestra (see Man with a Movie Camera (The Cinematic Orchestra album)). Originally made for the 2000 Porto Film Festival. It was also released on DVD in limited numbers by Ninja Tune . This DVD edition is currently very much in demand and goes beyond the other DVD versions.
  • 2002 – A score for the film by Michael Nyman was premiered performed by the Michael Nyman Band on May 17, 2002 at London’s Royal Festival Hall . A British Film Institute DVD of the movie was released with Nyman’s score. This score is widely available on several different DVD editions. Nyman wrote for the Sega Saturn video game Enemy Zero , which had a limited CD release, and Nyman performs a brief excerpt, “Odessa Beach” on his album, The Piano Sings .
  • 2003 June – American multi- theremin ensemble The Lothars performed a semi-improvised soundtrack accompanying a screening of the movie at the Coolidge Corner Theater in Brookline, Massachusetts . They rehearse their performance at the Galapagos Art Space in Brooklyn, New York .
  • 2006 Absolut Medien, Berlin released a DVD with the 3soundtracks from Michael Nyman, In the nursery, and a new soundtrack from Werner Cee
  • 2007 November – France based group Art Zoyd presented a scenic version of the film with the addition of video by artist Cecile Babiole. A studio recording of the soundtrack was released on CD in 2012. [25]
  • 2008 – Norwegian electronic jazz trio Halt the Flow performed their interpretation of the soundtrack for Man with a Movie Camera [26] in Bergen International Film Festival . The trio consists of Anders Wasserfall, Jørgen Vaage & Bjørnar Thyholdt.
  • 2008 October – London based Cinematic Orchestra undertook a screening featuring a screening of Vertov’s movie, which preceded the re-issue of the movie camera with a DVD, in November.
  • 2008 November – American Tricks of the Light Orchestra with screening of the film on Sunday, November 30 at Brainwash Cafe in San Francisco.
  • 2009 July; Mexican composer Alex Otaola performed a new soundtrack for the film at Mexico’s National Cinematheque. Aided by the ‘Ensamble of Cámara / Acción’ (Adrian Terrazas-bass clarinet, Daniel Zlotnik-Clarinet / Flute, Maria Emilia Martinez-flute, Luca Ortega-flute / piano, Carlos Maldonado-upright, Jose Maria Arreola-drums / percussion) , which consists of members from The Mars Volta, Los Dorados, San Pascualito Rey, Klezmerson and LabA
  • The American Voxare String Quartet performed by The Modernist Composers to accompany the screening of the film.
  • 2010 August – Irish instrumental post-rock band 3epkano accompanied by a screening of the film with an original live soundtrack in Fitzwilliam Square in Dublin [27]
  • 2010 July – Ukrainian guitarist and composer Vitaliy Tkachuk with his quartet performed his own soundtrack for the film at a first Ukrainian silent movie festival “Mute Nights” in Odessa, the city where this movie was made. [28]
  • 2011: The French pianist Yann The Long , the violoncellist Philippe Cusson and the percussionist Stéphane Grimalt performed for the first time the soundtrack written by Le Long for the film (20 May 2011) at the Cultural Center of the Old Convent , Muzillac, France .
  • 2014 March: Sarodist, beat maker, and multi-instrumentalist composer James Whetzel performed a 51 piece new all-original soundtrack to Man With a Movie Camera at SIFF Uptown Cinema in Seattle, WA, USA. Soundtrack features sarod, electric sarod, analog synthesizers, accordion, mandolin, bass, guitar, dhol, dholak, darbuka, bendir, rumba box, electronic drums, and 41 other pieces of percussion. Whetzel successfully completed a Kickstarter project for the soundtrack in July.
  • 2014 Spanish band Caspervek Trio premiered a new soundtrack for the movie at The Galería Jazz Club, Vigo , with further performances in Gijón , Ourense and Sigulda ( Latvia ). [29]
  • 2014 September: Swedish indie rock band bob premiered a new soundtrack for the film at Cinemateket in Stockholm , with subsequent performances in Helsinki , Luleå , Gothenburg and Malmö . [30]
  • 2016 March: Oliver Heldens feat. RUMORS soundtrack called “Ghost”. This is a 2016 EDM song, with a creative video edit on the bass of the music.

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