DZIGA VERTOV: THE MAN WITH THE MOVIE CAMERA AND OTHER NEWLY-RESTORED WORKS

THE MAN WITH THE MOVIE CAMERA

THE MAN WITH THE MOVIE CAMERA

"I am an eye. A mechanical eye. I am the machine that reveals the world to you as only the machine can see it. I am now free of human immobility. I am in perpetual motion. I approach things, I move away from them. I slip under them, into them. I move toward the muzzle of a race horse. I move quickly through crowds, I advance ahead of the soldiers in an assault, I take off with airplanes, I fall on my back ad get up at the same time that the body falls and gets up. This is what I am, a machine that runs in chaotic maneuvers, recording movements one after the other, assembling them in a patchwork. Freed from the constraints of time and space, I organize each point of the universe as I wish. My route is that of a new conception of the world. I can make you discover the world you did not know existed.”

– Dziga Vertov, Kino-Eye Manifesto (1923)

 
THE MAN WITH THE MOVIE CAMERA

THE MAN WITH THE MOVIE CAMERA

THE MAN WITH THE MOVIE CAMERA

THE MAN WITH THE MOVIE CAMERA

These words, written in 1923 (only a year after Robert Flaherty’s NANOOK OF THE NORTH was released) reflect the Soviet pioneer’s developing approach to cinema as an art form that shuns traditional or Western narrative in favor of images from real life. They lay the foundation for what would become the crux of Vertov’s revolutionary, anti-bourgeois aesthetic wherein the camera is an extension of the human eye, capturing “the chaos of visual phenomena filling the universe.” Over the next decade-and-a-half, Vertov would devote his life to the construction and organization of these raw images, his apotheosis being the landmark 1929 film THE MAN WITH THE MOVIE CAMERA. In it, he comes closest to realizing his theory of ‘Kino-Eye,’ creating a new, more ambitious and more significant picture than what the eye initially perceives.

THE MAN WITH THE MOVIE CAMERA

THE MAN WITH THE MOVIE CAMERA

This Blu-ray edition brings together four key films from the oeuvre of Dziga Vertov. Dziga Vertov (née David Abelevich Kaufman) studied medicine before turning to the arts. He was inspired by the Futurist movement as well as the French avant-garde. Just after the Russian revolution, in 1918 he became editor-in-chief of the first regular newsreel, CINEMA WEEK. In 1922, he was put in charge of a new newsreel, KINO-PRAVDA; one issue of which, KINO-PRAVDA NEWSREEL 21: LENINIST FILM TRUTH, is included in this Blu-ray edition.

 
KINO-EYE

KINO-EYE

In 1923, Vertov wrote a manifesto on “Kino-Eye”, in which he laid out the foundation of a new, independent anti-bourgeois aesthetic movement. For Vertov, the camera lens was an extension of the human eye. The film KINO-EYE 1924) applies these principles through his cinematic practice. The film reveals the joie de vivre of Soviet youth in a small village taking hold of their destiny, and building the future of the Soviet revolution.

In 1926, Vertov made STRIDE, SOVIET! (SHAGAI, SOVET!) and ONE-SIXTH OF THE WORLD, and in 1928, THE ELEVENTH YEAR. Following this, Vertov created his most famous film, THE MAN WITH THE MOVIE CAMERA, one of the great city symphony films in the tradition of MANHATTA (1921) and BERLIN: SYMPHONY OF A GREAT CITY (Walter Ruttman, 1927), as well as one of the most important movies about the filmmaking process.

 
ENTHUSIASM: SYMPHONY OF THE DONBASS

ENTHUSIASM: SYMPHONY OF THE DONBASS

 

Vertov’s next film, ENTHUSIASM: SYMPHONY OF THE DONBASS (1930) was a radical experiment in early sound filmmaking. Accustomed to experimenting with aural material, Vertov composed a particularly sophisticated sound track for his first sound film – focusing on the success of miners in achieving targets set by the central authorities – using the noises of machines and factory atmosphere.

 
THREE SONGS OF LENIN

THREE SONGS OF LENIN

 

Following this, Vertov produced THREE SONGS OF LENIN (1934), an ode to the founder of the Soviet Union. This film was released in both silent and sound versions, so that it could be shown in the Soviet Union in theaters that were not yet equipped for sound. The film was made during the rise of Stalin, and thus, suffered re-edits in the cause of Soviet Realism.

 
 
 

  Contents

Format: Blu-ray / Region A

     ----------------------------------------------------------

THE MAN WITH THE MOVIE CAMERA (CHELOVEK S KINOAPPARATOM)
(USSR, 1929)

Director, editor: Dziga Vertov
Assisted by: Elizaveta Svilova
Chief Cameraman: Mikhaïl Kaufman

• 68 minutes
• B&W

     _________________________________________

KINO-EYE (KINOGLAZ)
(USSR, 1924)

Director, writer: Dziga Vertov

• 78 minutes
• B&W

     _________________________________________

ENTHUSIASM: SYMPHONY OF THE DONBASS (ENTUZIAZM: SIMFONIYA DONBASSA)
(USSR, 1930)

Director: Dziga Vertov
Cinematography: Boris Cejtlin, K. Kualev
Editor: Elisaveta Svilova
Music: Nikolai Timofeev
Sound: Pjotr Shtro

• 68 minutes
• B&W
• Sound

     _________________________________________

THREE SONGS OF LENIN (TRI PESNI O LENINE)
(USSR, 1934)

Director, writer: Dziga Vertov
Assistant: Elizaveta Svilova
Photographed by: Dimitrij Surenski, Mark Magidson & Boris Monastyrskij
With: Dolorès Ibarruri, Nadezhda Krupskaya, Vladimir Ilitch Lenin & Joseph Stalin

• 59 minutes
• B&W

     _________________________________________

 Bonus Material

KINO-PRAVDA NEWSREEL #21: LENINIST FILM TRUTH (KINOPRAVDA NO. 21 – LENINSKAJA KINOPRAVDA)
(USSR, 1925)

Director: Dziga Vertov
Photographed by: Grigarij Giber, Aleksandr Levickij, Aleksandr Lemberg, Petr Novickij, Michail Kaufman & Eduard Tiss

• 23 minutes
• B&W

    _________________________________________
    _________________________________________

Total Running Time: 02:02:00

Language: Russian intertitles and English & French subtitles

Musical Score: The Alloy Orchestra, Robert Israel

Published By: Flicker Alley

Institutional Price: $250 (plus shipping)

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