Avant-garde delight

The Russian film Man with a Movie Camera (1929) directed by Dziga Vertov and edited by his wife Elizaveta Svilova is a celebration of movie making during the early days of cinema.  This silent film is as much a documentary as an experimentation of techniques and styles.  The tone established at the beginning generates great momentum and places the viewer right at the center of the process of the movie making experience.  Not only is the camera and the photographer present within the frame in the movie, but we come in and out of the actual scenes/fiction to break down the editing process.   To me, it feels like an allegory of labor and its interdependence with the machine working in unison towards progress. There is less concern with the magic of suspense of disbelief or storyline (where none seems to be present) and more emphasis on the process itself. The film acts as a catalog of possibilites, inventions and innovations in both still and moving images.  I enjoyed experiencing a day in small time Russia seen though personal and impersonal experiences as an informative exercise.  I recognize many of the techniques explored by photographers of the avant garde including birds eye, vertical framing, double exposure and many more.

 

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