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Michael Nyman's - Man with a Movie Camera [DVD]

Dziga Vertov    Universal, suitable for all   DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
Price: £5.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

Michael Nyman's - Man with a Movie Camera [DVD] + Sunrise (Dual Format Blu-ray+DVD) [Masters of Cinema] [1927]
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Product details

  • Directors: Dziga Vertov
  • Format: PAL
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: U
  • Studio: Bfi
  • DVD Release Date: 23 Jun 2008
  • Run Time: 68 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0017QMXLU
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 50,092 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



As you might guess from the rather impertinent possessive in the title, Michael Nyman's Man with a Movie Camera is a re-release of Dziga Vertov's 1929 experimentalist classic provided with a score by Michael Nyman. Those who know and love Nyman's music--and come to that, those who know and dislike it--will know pretty well what to expect: fluent orchestral minimalism turned out by the yard. The mood and the tempo scarcely vary, no matter what Vertov's showing us or how fast or slow the rhythm of his cutting. The effect is to tone down the excitement and audacity of Vertov's ideas and render them safe and even a touch bland.

If you're a Nyman fan, this is definitely for you. Otherwise, the earlier BFI release of the same film has not one but two alternative scores: a pounding, heroic, forward-with-the-Soviets affair from the Alloy Orchestra, closely based on Vertov's own notes of the kind of orchestral accompaniment he wanted for his film; and a second from the progressive group In the Nursery, gentler and more expressionist, drawing on state-of-the-art music technology. (As a third option, the BFI release includes a well-informed voice-over commentary from film historian Yuri Tsivian.)

On the DVD: Michael Nyman's Man with a Movie Camera comes to DVD packed in a hinged square metal tin reminiscent of the ones that hold small Dutch cigars. There are printed biogs of Vertov and Nyman, the latter rather cloyingly fulsome ("a man of impeccable musical credentials"). The transfer is excellent and pretty well complete; a few minor blemishes where the original nitrate stock had deteriorated scarcely detract. --Philip Kemp

Product Description

Man With A Movie Camera

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, beautiful and yes, seminal.... 25 Oct 2000
By A Customer
I first saw this on the big-screen and it stands up as one of the few films I could have watched again immediately. For an experimental film from 1920's Russia (an experimental and exciting time for the arts all round in the early years of the Soviet state) it's stood the test of time remarkably well. Yes it's 'arty', yes, it could be accused of self-indulgence, but it works! It has trick shots, odd camera-angles, multiple images and serves as a fascinating insight into a day in the life of a Soviet city. The the man with the movie camera himself makes regular intrusions into frame.
And the new soundtrack by In the Nursery works well too - it's not exactly cutting-edge, but its pleasant, electronic soundwashes sit well with the film and never try to overpower it. It's been criticised somewhat unfairly, but after all,Dziga was using the most up-to-the-minute technology he could get, so I'm sure he wouldn't mind.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The definitive DVD 17 Oct 2003
By A Customer
This has got to be the definitive DVD version of Vertov's Man With a Movie Camera.
The choice of two scores plus a separate commentary track makes this package even more appealing. Most notable score is by In The Nursery who manage to produce a musical blendof the symphonic with the modern, the ambient with the danceable and the acoustic with the synthetic.
Watching Vertov's masterpiece with In The Nursery's specially commissioned score makes each and every viewing a new voyage of discovery. A highly recommended purchase indeed.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A simple must on film history 8 Oct 2006
Dziga Vertov, 1929, definitely not the kind of movie to watch on a saturday night with friends.
But a must see for those interested in the history of film. As this "movie" was produced - 77 years ago -, the concept of film was completely different to what it is now. This shows how a man, without the filmic knowledge of a present-day director, manages to make breath-taking scenes never shot before.
Dziga Vertov, can probably be seen as one of the inventors of the first long running movies.
A must see, and an historical masterpiece!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mad Russian with a Movie Camera 1 Jan 2010
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is a hoot of early silent invention raised to the point of genius. It does go on past the patience of some of us, as does Nyman's score, but it's worth it. Think of Buster Keaton directed by Eisenstein. Think of the music as that damned row and keep the volume on high. The actors by the way - what actors? - are uniformly excellent. Also a must for tramcar enthusiasts.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enthusiastic industrialism 17 May 2011
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
A short but great film from the Soviet Union in the late 20s of last century at the time of the new silent film technology. It is worth watching a couple of times to check the technology itself and particularly the special effects that were developed and used at the time. The new camera enabled the film maker to have a wide picture and thus to have crowd scenes but editing provided new possibilities. And Vertov used them widely.

But the film is a lot more interesting as for its content and meaning. He has to be compared with Eisenstein who favored direct political messages, particularly about recent Soviet history. But we must not forget Fritz Lang who favored in his Metropolis another political message that industrialism was developing exploitation and enslavement and that it was barbarous and inhumane. But at the same time it is from these workers and the working class that hope could come from in the form of a rebellion and a compromise.

Vertov, apart from using the name and likeness of Lenin a couple of times is not only providing us with a political message. Of course it means that in the new historical phase the Soviet Union is going through Lenin, hence the revolution he represents (in his absence now), brought free time, leisure time, vacations to the workers themselves. But this message is the smaller part of the meaning. In fact paid vacations were invented by the Soviet Union, then adopted by Hitler and finally by the French in 1936. It spread from these three sources later on.

What is essential is the extremely positive vision of industrialism. The society it builds is a society of speed, ease, and creative work. Speed because everything is organized to save time and energy, to make things faster.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Man with a movie camera 17 Sep 2010
Fascinating - shows live street scenes which are now a historical record plus the ingenuity of the camera work and editing
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hidden gem 24 Jan 2010
I first heard this piece live in Bristol at a Michael Nyman concert, and was blown away with it. I bought the DVD expecting it to be a poor relation to the live performance. But nothing could be furthet from the truth. I don't know exactly what it is that makes it special, but I think it is a unique combination of music and the original movie. Every time I watch it the images and music create a wonderfully special atmosphere. Ok, being a Nyman fan I am biased, but of all the Nyman music I have heard this is in my top 5 favorite works.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Living Russia," or "The Man with a Camera" 15 Feb 2009
By bernie VINE VOICE
A well designed film by Dziga Vertov's that looks like a documentary than show the man and the city. We are constantly looking at fictional city where it is compared to the man with a camera. This film shot in black and white in 1929 is often compared to "Berlin: symphony of a great city" however this film is much more.

The real interest in the movie is how it is cut, and the choices of what to film. Every time you turn around you will see something not of other documentaries. What is real and what is film reality?

The voice over is just as good if not better than the original film as it describes how the film was made.

An added plus is just looking at the ancient technology. And then again how they are ahead of us in electric transportation.

This film requires several viewings.

Berlin: Symphony of a Great City
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars over-rated
I've wanted to watch this for years, and finally have. On the good side, it only wasted an hour; and actually the last 5 or 10 minutes was good quite experimental stuff, mostly... Read more
Published 4 months ago by A. Nonn
5.0 out of 5 stars Groundbreaking techniques and content
Like C. Th. Dreyer's `La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc' (1928), Dziga Vertov's silent movie (1929) had a major impact on cinematographic techniques. While C. Th. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Luc REYNAERT
5.0 out of 5 stars Made in the USSR
Sometimes frenetic, occasionally lyrical and witty demonstration of all the tricks that can be pulled by a movie camera, made all the more special by time and place; shot almost as... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Mario
2.0 out of 5 stars bad picture qualitye
Great film, very bad transfer. Described elsewhere on the interwebs as having the "ugly look of a VHS copy". I have it on VHS and it looks better than this. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Sound Track doubtful
This is one of those many old films that film buffs tend to read about. It had a sort of uninspiring title but it is well worth watching. Vertov ( not his real name. Read more
Published on 7 July 2012 by Graham Harris
5.0 out of 5 stars Hidden gem
I first heard this piece live in Bristol when Michael Nyman and band were performing there. It was a unique combination of old silent docu-movie with Nyman's genius superimposed... Read more
Published on 30 Jan 2010 by David Fairweather
3.0 out of 5 stars Experimental...And That's the Problem
Simply Vertov's "silent masterpiece"on russian life is not all it's cracked up to be.Certainly there are some startling(a birth) and beautiful(the expansive streets in the quiet of... Read more
Published on 29 Jan 2009 by Mark Pearce
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