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Archive for February 21st, 2010

by Allan Fish

(USSR 1929 70m) DVD1/2

Aka. Chelovek s Kinoapparatom

An excerpt from the diary of a cameraman

p/d/w  Dziga Vertov  ph  Mikhail Kaufman  ed  Elizaveta Svilova, Dziga Vertov

Of all the films in this select list, there can surely be no harder film to categorise than Dziga Vertov’s wonderful cinematic experiment of the late silent era.  It tells no story and yet it does tell a story, two of them in fact.  Not merely content to film the daily (and nightly) life of the Soviet populace at work and play, he also shows the people making the film within the film.  We see his editor (wife Svilova) rise from bed hurriedly, take off her nightdress, put her clothes on and go to work, where later on she splices and cuts the raw footage shot by the cameraman, Mikhail Kaufman.  Indeed the film begins with an iconic shot of a camera from which, on top, emerges the superimposed image of our cameraman setting up his camera.  It’s a wonderful visual touch that sets the tone of the film to follow, a film that revolutionised non-fictional film-making at a time when the term documentary was barely conceived.  (more…)

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