Arch. Myriam B. Mahiques Curriculum Vitae

Sunday, January 26, 2014

From "Man with a movie camera" 1929

I'm not a fan of silent movies, but what can I say about "Man with a movie camera" ? That's great, absolutely great. This is an experimental, documentary film from 1929, directed by Russian director Dziga Vertov, edited by his wife Elizaveta Svilova. The film depicts the everyday life of these Union Soviet cities: Odessa, Kharkiv and Kiev.  
The film has no plot, it's just a record of places, people, situations, objects, even graphic design, the habitat and life of progressive crowded cities, filmed by a man who goes everywhere with a big camera that cant' be hidden. And somebody is recording him for the movie.
As the images have double exposure, one doubts if they are really to be trusted, but the overall impression is that of a progressive country where Communism doesn't show up; everybody is happy, working, enjoying the beach, the games, smiles everywhere.

This is one of the few images of the Communist built environment

An upside down view of a building, think about it! A shot from 1929

What's even more, the film that has not a continuation in scenes, it shows images that are pretty out of the standard in those years: a woman giving birth to a child, half naked women, and lots of surrealist shots.
Needless to say, the camera is everywhere, taking people in surprise and in the most weird places: up in towers, in scaffoldings, in train tracks (let's say in a hole between the tracks), the cameraman is trying to achieve his balance on the doors of a convertible car. It's impossible to avoid smiling while watching the absurd situations. And in the meantime, we enjoy the old cities.

What is interesting is the effort to show a connection between the theatre, the literature and cinema, non existing at that time.
Finally, the camera has a life of its own. It shows up at the theatre, "walking,"  greeting everybody, bowing itself, that's a funny sequence.
Then the airplanes, remember it was between wars, and the faces of emotioned people, at the theatre, of course, watching this " must see" movie.

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