Man with a Movie Camera

Dziga Vertov


This is another movie — like “Breaking the Waves” — that my wife wanted to see and that I was terribly unexcited about. Like “Breaking,” “Man with a Movie Camera” blew me away and is now one of my all-time favorites.

This is an experimental silent film shot in the 20s that essentially documents the industrialization of Russia using creative (and in many cases newly-invented) film techniques. The editing and special effects were not only revolutionary at the time but also remain extremely impressive today. The perfectly-matched score gives the entire experience a kinetic and relentless feel. You as the viewer are continually treated to a completely surprising image, and if you’re like me you marvel at the director’s ability to stage a particular shot. The inventive genius is off the charts.

I am a fan of the more recent “Qatsi” trilogy (although “Koyaanisqatsi” and “Naqoyqatsi” are much better than the disappointing 3rd installment), but those films seem much less impressive now. “Man” is thematically and stylistically very similar to Godfrey Reggio’s trilogy and just as entertaining while predating it by a good 50 years.

This film is simply astounding if you think about when it was made. The cool part is that it’s nearly as entertaining as it is impressive. Highly recommended.

18 May 2011


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