Two Cineasts’s review published on Letterboxd:
Film reviews in 22 sentences (or less)
Today: Man with a Movie Camera
"I'm an eye. A mechanical eye. I, the machine, show you a world the way only I can see it..."
Hi everybody, in 1929 the world economic crisis may have ruled the world, but not the revolutionary filmmaker Dziga Vertov, whose highly experimental portrait of Moscow is in retrospect clearly decades ahead of its time.
We have watched thousands of movies and found our favorite directors in Kubrick, Hitchcock and Tarkovsky, we thought that these men had invented the cinema like we know it today, but we were wrong. This documentary right here is a prove that many camera techniques were already invented right in the 30s. Picture in picture cut, Dutch angle or hard cuts are all common techniques for films of the 70s, 80s or 90s, but as always the Soviets/Russians show their great talent for beautiful and innovative cinematography.
It feels like these unusual camera methods and, for that time, disturbing images, could easily have led to a 68 minutes catastrophe of overindulging use of techniques that should show what cinema is capable of.
Nowadays, especially in the early 2000s, we were bombarded with CGI effects and green screens, because filmmaker around the globe were proud of a new revolutionary invention and like the years before, the idea developed to explicitly show the audience what they have accomplished. So we've got computer generated massacres like in Star Wars: Episode II to show the best graphics instead of diversity. Wertow was concerned about representing everything he have ever seen, everything of what's possible at that time.
"...I free myself for today and forever from human immobility. I'm in constant movement. I approach and pull away from objects. I creep under them. I move alongside a running horse's mouth..."
"Man with a Movie Camera" was a highly successful experiment as it remains distinctive throughout the years and allows us a little glimpse of daily life in an unfamiliar time in the Soviet Union. It reminds us strongly of Ron Fricke's abstract time lapse photography in Chronos or "Koyaanisqatsi" only that time gets exchanged with camera techniques. Even if we repeat ourselves, but again the Soviets were decades ahead of its time. And undeniable they have or had an enormous talent for creating unique and stunning pictures. Since about one and a half years we both are great fans of Russian cinema, especially since we watched the works of Andrei Tarkovsky and Elem Klimov’s masterpiece Come and See . We were in love right from the beginning, with every new film we were convinced of the artistic craftsmanship of Russian filmmakers. We love cinematography and even if some movies aren't that entertaining, we can watch them only because of the great camera work.
"...I fall and rise with the falling and rising bodies. This is I, the machine, manoeuvring in the chaotic movements, recording one movement after another in the most complex combinations."
So it seems like Soviet/ Russian cinema was especially invented for us. And this silent movie right here is like a wet dream for us. So many camera tricks and techniques were shown for the first time in this picture, long before Kubrick, Hitchcock or Tarkovsky. Well, it is no wonder that this „documentary“ gets all stars from us and a big recommendation for you.