Man With A Movie Camera (Chelovek S Kinoapparatom)

Watched: 2 January

It’s definitely too much to take in on first viewing; Dziga Vertov’s silent avant-garde documentary Man With A Movie Camera – I watched the version with the accompanying Michael Nyman score – shows hundreds of scenes of daily Soviet life in Kiev, Kharkov, Moscow and Odessa, and employs lots of fun tricks that emphasise the presence of the filmmaker, the cinematographer and the camera itself. Clearly the product of a daring, experimental director, it’s a fast-moving affair and Vertov pulls just about everything from his bag of tricks, using jump cuts, split screens, backwards footage, double exposures and a hell of a lot more. A lot of the in-camera trickery holds up today. It’s beautiful, way ahead of its time and quite amazing, all told. (*****)