Man with a Movie Camera

Dziga Vertov, a Soviet filmmaker, was a member of the Kinok movement. The Kinoks believed that cinema should only exist the documentary style, that “the camera lens was a machine that could be perfected infinitely to grasp the world in its entirety and organize visual chaos into a coherent, objective picture.” In 1929 Vertov made an experimental film called Man with a Movie Camera. The film has no story or actors and serves as an example of non-fictional, unstaged cinema. The purpose, to comment on Soviet ideals in their present and shape them to a perfect city.


Man with a Movie Camera, 1:02

The film begins with a series of slides giving the viewer background on the film. One of which discusses the goal to create “a truly international absolute language.” It’s a tall order and the success of it in this film can be left up for debate. I believe it’s most important to consider if nonverbal-language is a valid form of language to begin with. In general, to create a common language, we need to not only be able to understand, but also communicate the desired intent through a single medium. Language is taught from a young age and is, eventually, completely natural for people — ebbing and flowing without effort. A simple example of non-verbal language is writing. I can express my thoughts through characters on a page, another person can read them and understand my meaning. At times, there are misunderstandings, but as a whole it works.


Another non-verbal language is, of course, sign language. As with spoken word, deaf children learn sign language from their parents and other surrounding influences. In fact, deaf children are able to sign at an earlier age then hearing children can speak. So, what does that say for communication through cinema?

To prove it can be cinema alone that forms an absolute international language, the “speakers” of this language should be able to create amble content and teach its meaning in such a way that every person in this community can, without thought, create unique content that conveys their inner mind. I would argue that the creation of said content is possible, but currently we do not express it with such ease. The Kinoks believed the camera could eventually become “hidden,” a natural and unseen part of its environment. As cameras become more and more common, we come to have an additional eye through the screens of our phones. For now, we remain separate, but it is possible we will reach the state in which the camera, much like the lenses in of a pair of glasses, is no longer seen by the user, giving us a gateway to a universal tongue through cinema.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s