Man with a Movie Camera

Man with a Movie Camera ★★★★

Dziga Vertov's aim with Man with a Movie Camera was to establish a cinematic grammar, unbound by conventions of literature and theatre. There are no sets, there is no script, and the closest thing the film has to a character is Vertov's brother, Mikhail Kaufman, the eponymous cinematographer. With little more than basic tools and imaginative technique, they create a radical documentary—buzzing snapshots of bustling cities and the citizens who make them run. It's a celebration of the Soviet people and their homes, and a complex exploration of the cameras, lenses, and reels used to capture them. In most documentary films, a narrator or talking head would drone explanations and history, whereas here the images speak for themselves. They tell an optimistic and multifaceted story about a new dawn rising over the USSR and the nascent art of filmmaking.

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