Man with a Movie Camera film
Man with a Movie Camera film
The documentary, Man with a Movie Camera, seems to be a straight reportorial documentary, but it does not give the impression of the reality presented and remains unaffected by the film medium. Alternatively, Dziga Vertov proclaims editing with cinematography manipulative power as the aspect tends to shape tiny scenes multitude of daily reality to highly idiosyncratic to an experimental documentary. At the same time, Vertov name is linked to an editing technique, which he equates the eye with a filmmaker gathering shots from different places and then links them in a creative manner for the spectator. It is evident that Vertov theoretic writings tend to compare the camera lens to the eye with the use of both theoretical and practical approach.
The documentary borrows a similar idea as the basis for the whole associational form. It is a celebration of the power of a documentary filmmaker to control people reality perception by using special effects and editing. In the film, the opening image confirms a camera in a close up position. A double exposure effect makes the film camera operator climb the giant camera top and come up with an extreme long shot. He sets up a camera on what seems like a tripod for some time and then climbs down. The play shot scale in a single image seems to emphasize the cinema power to alter reality in magical way. The cinematographic special effects appear as a motif in the entire film and with no intention of being visible like a science fiction documentary. Instead, Vertov flaunts the aspect that he makes us of the camera to alter the daily realities. Such an example is evident when he makes use of pixilation in objects animation. Another scene shows him conveying radio sound by a dancer superimposed images and a hand-playing piano in a black background. The virtuosic motif with special effects tends to culminate into the famed final shot. The camera is also personified at various points in the film, which is linked with human beings actions being edited.
A brief segment in the film illustrates the lens of the camera focusing and later blurry flower shots coming into focus. It is instantly followed by a comic juxtaposition, which rapidly intercuts two aspects’ woman fluttering eyelids, while drying her face using a towel and venetian blinds sets opening and closing. Lastly, another show demonstrates lens camera with a diaphragm also closing and opening. The eye of a human being is equated to venetian blinds with the lenses being the eye, which opens and closes in the process keeping out or accepting light. Later on pixilation permits the camera to move independently and walk on three legs. The film belongs to documentaries genre, which become of great significance in the 1920s.The opening of the documentary, has a camera operator busy filming as he passes between curtains of a movie theater, which is empty while moving towards the screen. The next action that follows is the theater opening as spectators start to come, an orchestra starting to play with the commencement of the play.
The film first watched by the audience seems to be of a city symphony depicting the normal day of town life. There is an asleep woman, empty streets, closed shops as few people start appearing to awaken the city. The film’s applies a rough development principle, which progresses from waking up, daily activities to leisure time. The early waking up segment sees the camera operator setting out all his equipment as if he is starting to work again. The action tends to create one of the many deliberate inconsistencies in the film. Seemingly, now the camera operator appears in his own film as Vertov emphasize the aspect by cutting back instantly to the sleeping woman who was the first thing we had seen before in the film within a film. Throughout the documentary, same captions as well as effects are filmed, edited, and eventually viewed in a scrambled order by the onscreen audience. Towards the end of the documentary, the audience in theater watches the camera operator on the screen, while filming on a moving motorcycle. Various motifs in the films used in the earlier segments return, although in a fast motion. It is evident that the simple that the simple ordinary city symphony orders remains broken and jungled. He creates an extraordinary time scheme, which emphasizes impossible cinema manipulative powers. The film does not show one city and instead mixes the footages that have been filmed in Kiev, Odessa and Moscow. This means that that the camera operator moves easily during the ‘day’fiming.
Vertov cinema view in relation to the cityscape is conveyed well in one shot, which makes usage of extraordinary focused composition against the camera found in the foreground and looms over remote buildings. Although the film is a city symphony, it goes past the genre. Apart from the exuberant power celebration of the cinemas, the film has different explicit and unspoken meanings, which at times might be missed by viewers who do not understand Russian. The film aims at praising as well as criticizing Soviet society aspects after the decade revolution. The film has many juxtapositions comprising of machines as well as human labor. Vertov pints out the weak points associated with the contemporary life like the evident class inequalities. The shots taken in a beauty shop depicts other people bourgeois values, which have survived the famed revolution.
Leisure time sequence, which is almost evident at the end of the film, conflicts with the shot where workers are participating in outdoors sports, as chubby women seem to be exercising in weight loss gyms. He also take time to analyze drunkenness as main social problem in Russia as evident in the first shot in the inner film, which shows a deserted person sleeping outdoors next to a big bottle advertising a café. At the same time, a shop front easily noticeable advertises alcoholic drinks like wine with many shots of workers clubs, which were formerly churches. There is also a scene, whereby the camera operator also visits a bar with the contrast between the two places made clear by associational crosscutting. A woman shooting at specific targets in one of the clubs shoots away beer bottles, which disappear by stop motion from crates in the bar.
The documentary is viewed as Vertov argument on filmmaking as he opposes the narrative form and usage of professional actors. He prefers usage of camera techniques in films together with an editing table, which creates effects on the audience. The camera operator wakes up to go to work in the morning just like all other workers. At the same time, like them h makes use of a machine during his filming as the camera crank is compared to a cash register crank at various points. The projector’s moving parts in the theater is likened to factory machines evident in different sequences. Vertov demonstrates further how the film being watched the audience and the audience within are a product of specific labor. The editor at work who is Vertov wife together with the real editor of the documentary are seen at work. Her gestures, which involves scrapping and then using a brush to put cement on it to make splices are cut in with beauty parlor shots where a manicurist tends to wield a similar brush together with a nail file.
Various scenes in the film illustrate similar shots in different contexts in both the screen and the screen in the movie theater. They are not supposed to be viewed as recorded reality moments but also pieces put together by film workers to make it whole. The camera operator has to resort to different means, although at times dangerous to get his shots. He climbs a big smokestack and crouches across various stacks for filming of oncoming train by riding a motorcycle using one hand cranking the camera to capture the race action. The art of filmmaking is presented as a craft unlike an elite oriented craft. Vertov hope is that the Soviet public finds his filmmaking entertaining as well as educational judging from the audience delighted reactions in the theater. The implicit meaning seems to relate to a sysmptomatic meaning evident in the film.
Vertov’s fascination film is evident in his experimentation with the material as he layers, tilts and crosscuts the film to create unusual effects and improve the narrative. He constantly makes uses of the camera’s whole potential with careful selection of the right aspect for an individual subject. Elements such as fast panning and cutting to evoke high pace in growth, work and development as well as slow motion helps in understanding human as well as animal body, which are in such as motion, stopping, together with handheld movement. Vertov finds the film’s comparable to magic as he films the performance of a magician as well as captures the mesmerized children’s faces. Another scene shows the editor as magician by bringing the movie alive for spellbound audience watching in the theatre. Apart from the form or the film being a medium, Vertov’s manifesto seems to carry a solid ideological content. He dislikes fiction film genres as well as fake romanticism, which drive humankind to long for prosperity and comfort.
It is evident that he believes in realism values instead of giving the audience together with the society artificial emotion. In the film, he sets a man in motion to ensure he is physically and mentally active to the machine that makes him a new man. The film captures activity, work, enthusiasm and production as he watches human beings together with their machines work together for the creation of a new society ,which is classless .Such a society understand that all genders are equal with athleticism celebrated in the same way as a inquisitive mind, and sincere soul ,which views work as important like leisure. Vertov’s perfect society believe that leisure is also active and comprise of sports and maintenance of motion. The documentary is a celebration of growth, vitality, and energy being optimistic as well positive.