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23 of 23 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

versus
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 using speeded-up film, an obvious influence on the much better and more recent Koyaanisqatsi and lots of other things. I had hoped and assumed the whole thing would be something like that.
The...
Published 3 months ago by A. Nonn


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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
By 
Mattia Varriale "MedioMan" (Vienna, Austria) - See all my reviews
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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
By 
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enthusiastic industrialism, 17 May 2011
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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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Man with a movie camera, 17 Sep 2010
By 
Mrs. R. Jones "MEDICINEMEG" (LONDON UK) - See all my reviews
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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
By 
David Fairweather (Gloucestershire, England.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Michael Nyman's Man With A Movie Camera [1929] (DVD)
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 "xyzzy" (Arlington, Texas) - See all my reviews
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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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2.0 out of 5 stars over-rated, 15 Mar 2014
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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 using speeded-up film, an obvious influence on the much better and more recent Koyaanisqatsi and lots of other things. I had hoped and assumed the whole thing would be something like that.
The rest, however, is very straightforward and slow: film of workers standing at their machinery, trams moving along, a funeral etc, none of it filmed in a very artistic or unusual way and with little to commend it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Groundbreaking techniques and content, 6 July 2013
By 
Luc REYNAERT (Beernem, Belgium) - See all my reviews
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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. Dreyer's movie excels through its camera movements and focal changes of lenses, D. Vertov's film shines through its shooting angles and, most importantly, through its editing with one image shots, split screens and a beautifully flowing movement throughout the whole film, based on inside screen motions, the transitions and the links between the scenes and a splendid timing.
If its techniques didn't influence directly major filmmakers, D. Vertov was at least their predecessor. One thinks immediately of Alain Resnais and Leni Riefenstahl.
Dziga Vertov was perhaps himself inspired by Fritz Lang's Metropolis.

Regarding the content, Dziga Vertov's movie is also groundbreaking. It is not only a movie in a movie, for there is a third level: D. Vertov adds the projection of his own movie in his movie! It is also the first movie which records the birth of a human being.
Moreover, D. Vertov edited his shots with juxtapositions, like wedding/divorce scenes or the change of left/right directions inside the screen.

Michael Nyman's music underlines admirably the image flow in this astonishing movie.
This eternal masterpiece of world cinema is a must see for all movie buffs.
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