#46 The Man with a Movie Camera (1929)

Does anyone reading this blog post want to be a filmmaker or a video editor in the future? Then this film will be your ticket to receiving all of the knowledge you want about early cinematography. This film doesn’t have a story or real characters. Dziga Vertov’s The Man with a Movie Camera is an early documentary style film about the everyday goings on of Moscow, Odessa, Kharkiv, and Kiev using innovative styles of cinematography.


This is just one of the examples of how this film showed off many inventive forms of cinematography. There were a lot of super imposition shots, reverse shots, slow motion, fast motion, rapid cuts, close-ups, split screens, etc. You saw the working class, people at the beach, playing a game of chess, a man on the side of a moving train, machines at work, and Elizaveta Svilova– the wife of director Dziga Vertov and the editor of this film. What do you think of the way film editing was done back then? I find it very interesting how everything was done on film strips instead of using computer programs to put in the effects. What scene was most impressive to you and entertaining to see?


Have you ever heard of kino-eye before? It’s letting the lens of the camera be your eyes. What you see, the camera sees. That’s what Dziga Vertov believed in. He believed in bringing non-fiction to the silver screen. His philosophy was to use no actors but real people, real locations instead of sets, no inter-titles, and to have no plot in the film. Sure maybe this documentary didn’t have interviews and it wasn’t about a particular subject but about finding the everyday beauty in your surroundings and filming it. I was impressed the most with the shot where you see a man from above the city filming everything from down below. That’s pretty much what filmmakers do- everything around them is for the taking. Everything about the film was experimental and I believe the experiment succeeded.

Watch Vertov’s ground breaking experimental film and let me know what you think:



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