Dziga Vertov's Man With A Movie Camera

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Dziga Vertov once said, “It is far from simple to show the truth, yet the truth is simple.” An eminent Soviet cinema theorist and director of avant-garde documentaries, Vertov established new cinematic horizons when he brought the notion of “truth values” to the practice of filmmaking. His vision for dynamic and chaotic industrial settings drove his cinematographic practice, and his work was guided by the underlying principle that viewers should view these images in their entirety. This conviction is best embodied with his film Man with a Movie Camera. Created in 1929, Man with a Movie Camera is notable not only for the political and historical time it arose, but also for the technical mechanisms and cinematic language that Vertov craftily…show more content…
Indeed, the film’s creation amid the Soviet Union’s industrial time period points to an unprecedented approach to filmmaking, and the film later goes on to inform the avant-garde experimental filmmaking movement. Vertov sought to present the truth as reality presented it, pursuing this by way of the camera, a machine he perceived as more impactful than the human eye. From Vertov’s perspective, the camera is free of bias and of any aesthetic coatings or alterations, presenting the world in its most natural form. To Vertov, the camera lens acts as an objective tool to organize “visual chaos into a coherent set of pictures” (Dawson 2003). This paper delves into the context, process, and power of Vertov’s artistic approach to understand the role of the technology of observation in Man with a Movie…show more content…
After all, Man with a Movie Camera is a film about film production, depicting scenes from the cameraman to the editor to the orchestra that was involved with the exhibition of the film. Michelson’s novel includes an interesting statement from a woman who saw Vertov’s movie the following year it was shown in 1930. The woman recalled having “such a dazzling experience that it took two or three other Soviet films with normal ‘stories’ to convince me that all Soviet films were not compounded of such intricate camera pyro-technics.” The woman went on to say that Man with a Movie Camera accurately depicts the “breadth and precision of the camera’s recording ability… The camera observation in Kino-Eye was alert, surprising, but never eccentric. Things and actions were ‘caught’ but less for the catching’s sake than for the close observation of the things themselves” (Michelson xxi). Vertov used techniques such as split screen, multi-layered supers and even animated inserts. In spite of these cinematic techniques, Vertov is able to position the viewer to recognize the connection to the apparatus from which these moving images result. Viewers become acutely aware that they are seeing scenes of industrial production: shots of filmmaking in line with scenes of mining, steel production, postal service, construction, hydroelectric power installation, and the textile industry. As the

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