Friday, March 23, 2012

Dziga Vertov | Man with a Movie Camera / Three Heroines




















TWO VERTOV DOCUMENTARIES:
the mad cameraman

Dziga Vertov (writer and director) Человек с киноаппаратом (Man with a Movie Camera) / 1929
by Douglas Messerli

Vertov's film begins with a written prologue:

                    The film Man with a Movie Camera represents

                    AN EXPERIMENTATION IN THE CINEMATIC
                    COMMUNICATION
                    of visual phenomena
                    WITHOUT THE USE OF INTERTITLES
                    WITHOUT THE HELP OF A SCENARIO
                    WITHOUT THE HELP OF THEATRE
                    (a film without actors, without sets, etc.)
                    This new experimentation work by Kino-Eye is directed towards the
                        creation - ABSOLUTE KINOGRAPHY - on the basis of its
                        complete separation from the language of theatre and literature.

 Vertov had randomly shot over 1,775 shots, employing his wife Elizaveta Svilova to cut and piece them together as a representation of a day in the life of a city (in this case, Odessa) in 1929.

      Certainly Man with a Movie Camera is intentionally experimental, using numerous techniques from double exposures, slow motion, freeze frames, split screens, close-ups, and long tracking shots to what is described as Dutch angles, a tilt of the camera to the side creating vertical lines at an angle to the frame.

      Yet one certainly cannot describe this documentary as being without narrative. It begins, in fact, with the above manifesto as a kind prologue before showing, from within, a movie house, as the crowd enters, the seats seeming to automatically fall from upright position to the horizontal in long rows. The crowd is seated, a curtain rises, and an orchestra is poised to begin as a short stasis creates tension before the conductor brings down his baton on the Alloy Orchestra, a group which creates not only a driving rhythmic music but incorporates sounds such as sirens, crowd noise, the cries of babies and much else.

     The narrative is made immediately apparent, as a woman is seen sleeping upon a bed, an alarm clock blares, and another woman sits up to wash her face and change into her dress. Although Vertov's work begins rather slowly, it quickly picks up a speed that drives the numerous daily routines, from traveling to work by bus, train, streetcar and other modes of transportation to the masses' arrival into the heart of the city where they begin their numerous daily routines that take us into the late afternoon when the host of figures engage in multiple entertainments, including theater, sunbathing, and various engagements in sport events.

     At the center of this narrative is the central character, an almost manic cameraman (Mikhail Kaufman) who with camera in hand hops upon various forms of transportation, climbs bridges, and mounts machines, tracking scenes from below and on high as he risks his life to capture energy of city living.

     But, of course, we know that despite the cameraman's busy demeanor that there is yet another camera trained on him, and that, in fact, the film is not just a movie about a "man with a movie camera," but is a more self-referential film, a movie about a movie maker. The stars of this narrative are the cinematographer, Vertov himself, and the tool he uses to accomplish the task. At one point the camera seems to actually come alive, taking itself apart and reassembling its own being. At another moment we witness the mad camera man atop his own camera. And again and again, while the masses go about their daily chores, the cameraman and his camera race across the screen to track the actions of the Soviet folk it—again mostly in a pretense—"secretly" shoots. This is not exactly candid camera, however, for although Vertov is said to have distracted several of crowds from the fact that they were being filmed, the very outsized version of his machine surely encouraged some of his figures to pose for the camera, or, to put it another way, to "act."

     Except for the statement of no intertitles, accordingly, Vertov's manifesto seems to ignore what it claims to have accomplished, creating instead a kind of theatrical narrative whose actors are the cameraman and his camera among a cast of thousands of extras. No matter, the film is still today one of the most remarkable documentaries ever made, long ahead of its time using techniques that influenced 20th and 21st-century filmmaking.

     If at times Man with a Movie Camera, particularly near the end, seems—as Vertov's critics had argued—gimmicky and even manipulative, overall the work is a remarkable achievement, representing as it does a vast landscape of pulsing city life.


Los Angeles, March 21, 2012


 rescued pilots

Dziga Vertov and Elizaveta Svilova (directors) Tri geroinia (Three Heroines) / 1938, the print I saw was at The Hammer Museum’s Billy Wilder Theater on March 24th, 2012

If Vertov’s Man with a Movie Camera is an exciting mélange of cinematic experimentations, his and his wife’s Three Heroines is a rather straight-forward, at time amateurish, propagandistic tribute, less to the three heroines of its title, than to Stalin and the Soviet system.

      It is true that Vertov and Svilova, true to their beliefs, did not use voice-overs or devise numerous acted out scenes for their documentary. Indeed Vertov’s more radical methods were now devalued by the Soviet film heads. Accordingly, this film was little seen in the Soviet Union and completely unknown to the rest of the world.

     The three heroines are air pilots Raskova, Osipenko, and Grisodubova, who attempted to make a first nonstop trans-Siberian flight. They failed, crashing into the Soviet taiga, and for several days their whereabouts were unknown.

     Higher-ups, however, insisted upon detailed searches and, eventually the three were discovered alive and still in good health. The irony is that this threesome came to be better known having failed than they might have had they succeeded in their mission. After mending, the women called home to their husbands and children—their joyful communications caught by the documentarians camera in some of the moving scenes of the film—before they were taken by train on the long journey back to Moscow. Along the way, the three made numerous stops, the woman laden with medals and flowers, presenting speeches proclaiming the greatness of the Soviet system and the beloved protection of Stalin. Unlike the West’s neglect of Amelia Earhart, they argue, the Soviet system cares about its would-be heroes and all its citizens, of which their salvation is an example.

     By about the third or fourth such speech even the most ardent viewer grows weary, and the constant repetition of a song of these tiaga-trotting women, alternating with praises of the USSR—the major link between their picaresque travels—rather than charming the viewer, drills the ditty into his head.

     Certainly, there are lovely moments, and the imposing views of small Soviet villages are often fascinating as Vertov’s and Svilova’s camera remains in near-constant motion. But this time, without many cinematic tricks, the document seems uneventful and flat. Long live the Soviet people and their great protector Stalin and Soviet Commisars!



Los Angeles, March 27, 2012

41 comments:

  1. Thanks for review, it was excellent and very informative.
    thank you :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great article mate, keep the great work, just shared this with ma friendz mastercam 2020 for solidworks

    ReplyDelete
  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  6. The script, co-written by McKay & Chris Henchy, sends up buddy cop movies with more verve than most films of this type. 먹튀사이트

    ReplyDelete
  7. Dude.. My group is not considerably into looking at, but somehow I acquired to read several articles on your blog. Its fantastic how interesting it’s for me to visit you fairly often. 토토먹튀

    ReplyDelete
  8. Heya i’m for the first time here. I found this board and I find It truly useful & it helped me out a lot. I hope to give something back and help others like you aided me. 먹튀

    ReplyDelete
  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  11. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Great read! Will check back some other time to see if you add more to your updates. 토토사이트

    ReplyDelete
  13. An fascinating discussion will probably be worth comment. There’s no doubt that that you should write more on this topic, it might become a taboo subject but usually everyone is too little to communicate in on such topics. To the next. Cheers 먹튀검증

    ReplyDelete
  14. Great read! Will check back some other time to see if you add more to your updates. Mega888

    ReplyDelete
  15. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Exactly what I was searching for, thank you for posting. 918kiss kiss918 apk download

    ReplyDelete
  17. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I don’t even know how I stopped up here, but I thought this put up was once good. I do not recognise who you are however certainly you are going to a well-known blogger in the event you aren’t already Cheers! 파워볼사이트

    ReplyDelete
  19. Can I simply say that of a relief to uncover one who actually knows what theyre speaking about over the internet. You certainly know how to bring a concern to light to make it essential. Lots more people should check out this and can see this side from the story. I cant think youre not more well-known since you also absolutely develop the gift. 918kiss

    ReplyDelete
  20. Good aftie” i am a blogger too, and i can see that you are a nice blogger too,   먹튀검증업체

    ReplyDelete
  21. Congratulation for this successful project. Can you please share some pictures of the your project. I am going to share this post with my friends. 먹튀검증

    ReplyDelete
  22. 내가 말해야 할 훌륭한 게시물과 정보에 감사드립니다. 교육은 확실히 끈질긴 주제입니다. 그러나 여전히 우리 시대의 주요 주제 중 하나입니다. 귀하의 게시물에 감사 드리며 더 많은 것을 기대합니다. 먹튀검증

    ReplyDelete
  23. Good luck getting people behind this one. Though you make some VERY fascinating points, youre going to have to do more than bring up a few things that may be different than what weve already heard. What are trying to say here? What do you want us to think? It seems like you cant really get behind a unique thought. Anyway, thats just my opinion. Ice Cream Bakeries In North carolina

    ReplyDelete
  24. I saw your article well. You seem to enjoy 바카라사이트 for some reason. We can help you enjoy more fun. Welcome anytime :-)

    ReplyDelete
  25. I'm impressed, I must say. Actually rarely can i encounter a blog that's both educative and entertaining, and without a doubt, you could have hit the nail about the head. Your idea is outstanding; the thing is something that too few individuals are speaking intelligently about.메이저놀이터 We are delighted that we came across this around my try to find some thing with this.토토사이트

    ReplyDelete
  26. In this write up, the readers will get information on future technology and learn to what extent modern technology has been developed to assist the growth of human civilization. Technology of the Future would be more sophisticated and user friendly. The rapid technological advancement will make technology more convenient and usable. elon musk

    ReplyDelete
  27. Your work is very good and I appreciate you and hopping for some more informative posts 먹튀검증 I believe you are the person I was looking for 먹튀검증

    ReplyDelete
  28. pleasant post, stay aware of this fascinating work. It truly regards realize that this subject is being secured likewise on this site so cheers for setting aside time to talk about this! 먹튀폴리스

    ReplyDelete
  29. 토토사이트 https://twitter.com/totobobbi I really loved reading your blog. It was very well authored and easy to understand. Unlike other blogs I have read which are really not that good.Thanks alot! 토토사이트

    ReplyDelete
  30. There is noticeably a bundle to find out about this. I assume you made sure nice factors in options also 토토사이트

    ReplyDelete
  31. This is exactly evenly a good material that i extremely extremely enjoyed reading viewing. It's not regularly which i maintain opportunity to run a difficulty. 먹튀폴리스

    ReplyDelete
  32. The article composing business is going extraordinary for me at this moment, and the vast majority of my prosperity is because of the substance that you post here. I utilize your substance to compose my articles, and the substance makes my great article incredible. 토토사이트

    ReplyDelete
  33. Hello
    Thank you for giving me useful information.
    Please keep posting good information in the future
    I will visit you often. Thank you.
    I am also running the site. 메이저놀이터 This is a related site, so please visit once.
    Have a niceday!

    ReplyDelete
  34. That's a really good piece of writing. It's been a lot of help. I'll help you.토토사이트

    ReplyDelete
  35. I got a web site from where I be capable of really obtain valuable information regarding my study and knowledge.
    Great Article… Good Job… Thanks For Sharing…

    Website:키스방

    ReplyDelete
  36. Hi,Wow, superb blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your website is excellent, as well as the content! 먹튀검증

    ReplyDelete
  37. That's a really good piece of writing. It's been a lot of help. I'll help you.토토사이트

    ReplyDelete
  38. What a post I've been looking for! I'm very happy to finally read this post. 토토사이트 Thank you very much. Can I refer to your post on my website? Your post touched me a lot and helped me a lot. If you have any questions, please visit my site and read what kind of posts I am posting. I am sure it will be interesting.

    ReplyDelete
  39. I have been looking for articles on these topics for a long time. 먹튀검증 I don't know how grateful you are for posting on this topic. Thank you for the numerous articles on this site, I will subscribe to those links in my bookmarks and visit them often. Have a nice day.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Hello
    Thank you for giving me useful information.
    Please keep posting good information in the future
    I will visit you often. 메이저놀이터Thank you.
    I am also running the site. 토토사이트 This is a related site, so please visit once.안전놀이터
    Have a niceday! 레플리카

    ReplyDelete
  41. Hey there, You’ve done an incredible job. I’ll definitely digg it
    and for my part suggest to my
    friends. I am confident they will be benefited from this site.|유흥

    ReplyDelete