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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, beautiful and yes, seminal....
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...
Published on 25 Oct. 2000

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
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 the morning)images but it is the "innovative"techniques that were so ahead of it's time that begin to annoy- slow motion,split screen,multiple images one on top of the other to name but...
Published on 29 Jan. 2009 by Mark Pearce


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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mad Russian with a Movie Camera, 1 Jan. 2010
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Alan Tucker (Stroud, Gloucestershire Great Britain) - See all my reviews
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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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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enthusiastic industrialism, 17 May 2011
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This review is from: Man With A Movie Camera [1929] [DVD] (DVD)
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. Vertov concentrates on city life and does not really consider agriculture. This fast society is represented particularly by trams and means of transportation, but also at work by the new work organization that we call in the west taylorism or fordism. Charlie Chaplin will make fun of it in the most caustic way in his Modern Times.

Ease is also represented by modern means of transportation but also in life in general due to the new organization of industrial work that liberates free time, and the development of stores and commodities. Creative work is a positive vision of industrial work: workers are creative by being workers. It means that they create added value and riches for the whole country by and with their work. This is the most important message there and it is of course deeply political but it is also in complete contrast with the ideologists and artists of the west like Fritz Lang, H.G. Wells, Aldous Huxley, George Orwell or even T.S. Eliot.

Vertov is an optimist. This vision is of course today difficult to accept because that fully accepted industrialism produced pollution, colonialism, totalitarianism, fascism, nazism, and many other delicate development of the 20th century. Note I do not mention communism which is covered by totalitarianism. Paid vacations and the 40 working hours a week are two positive reforms that do not in any way cover up the rest nor compensate for the rest.

A last remark is that this film gives us a completely exploded vision of life in a myriad of small tid-bits that are recomposed in the kaleidoscope of our eyes. We find the same vision in Russian music at the same time. Fast rhythm of innumerable particles of life similar to the vision we can have of a very busy street while we are on a fast errand that makes us go up that street in little time. In other words the new technology made it possible to show on a screen what exploded life was really becoming. Vertov shows the positive side of things. Go to Fritz Lang or Charlie Chaplin to have the negative side of things, even if Chaplin tries to see the fun of it.

Dr Jacques COULARDEAU
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Experimental...And That's the Problem, 29 Jan. 2009
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This review is from: Man With A Movie Camera [1929] [DVD] (DVD)
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 the morning)images but it is the "innovative"techniques that were so ahead of it's time that begin to annoy- slow motion,split screen,multiple images one on top of the other to name but three.
Vertov did say that Movie...has no scenario and is an experimental film but the chronicling of a day in the life of a city's citizenry needs a more linear approach to be truly affecting(he used five different cities by the way).
Rating down to two if you watch with the first audio setting which was starting to send me a little crazy.Must watch with the In The Nursury score which lends the images a more haunting and poetic feel.
If you want to see this day in the life done better,buy People On Sunday or better still Ruttmann's superb Berlin Symphony Of A City (only on Region 1)which is far superior.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hidden gem, 30 Jan. 2010
By 
David Fairweather (Gloucestershire, England.) - See all my reviews
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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 on it. A really special occasion. So it was with some trepidation that I bought the CD - you know what I am thinking - you hear something live and are blown away by it, so you buy the CD - and often it is a disappointment. The live original is always better, or nearly always. Man with a Movie Camera is one of those examples where the CD is better because you can saviour its uniqueness. The orignical camera work by Vertov gets better every time you watch it, and Nyman's musical genius does much more than just support the movie, it synergises it - pumps it up. The music both subtle and explosive, capturing that special Nyman sound experience. For anyone who loves Nyman and cinema, then this has to be a required addition to your CD collection.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great DVD, 29 Dec. 2014
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This review is from: Man With A Movie Camera [1929] [DVD] (DVD)
Great DVD. The film itself is fascinating, and having the option to play it with different soundtracks is great, can make a huge difference to how you view the film. A must for any fans cinema fans.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Classic documentary, 27 Aug. 2014
This review is from: Man With A Movie Camera (DVD)
Admirable usage of camera tricks for its time and a useful vision of the past of people at work and leisure
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 20 Dec. 2014
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outstanding for its age
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars bad picture qualitye, 2 Feb. 2013
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This review is from: Man With A Movie Camera [1929] [DVD] (DVD)
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. It's about OK if you stand at the opposite end of the room and screw your eyes up. Going to try the Nyman-scored one, also from BFI.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 31 Oct. 2014
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This review is from: Man With A Movie Camera [1929] [DVD] (DVD)
Essencial.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 8 Mar. 2015
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This review is from: Man With A Movie Camera [1929] [DVD] (DVD)
Fine
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Man With A Movie Camera [1929] [DVD]
Man With A Movie Camera [1929] [DVD] by Dziga Vertov (DVD - 2000)
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