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FILM CLUB: Man With a Movie Camera@Boa 9/18

Posted by Omar / September 17, 2006


Here's one for the hardcore film buffs out there -- a silent epic masterpiece from early Soviet cinema. And no, it's not by Sergei Eisenstein and there are no battleships in this film.

Dviga Vertoz (coolest name ever) was a strange artist among the early Soviet film pioneers - he wanted to blend modes of documentary with experimental cinema - a merging that has still to form even today. His masterpiece, Man With a Movie Camera is one of the purest films around: It documents a day, through the lens of the man in question. However, it is razzle dazzle with filmic techniques and cinematic poetry unseen even in contemporary cinema.

So don't fret. It's not long (80min), its not boring, and you don't have to worry about the silence. We are going to screen a newly restored print of the film featuring a newly scored soundtrack by those cool cats The Cinematic Orchestra (Ninja Tune). The screening is this Monday at the Boa Taverne Modern (5301 St. Laurent). Free admission. Popcorn and drinks available to enhance the movie experience. Please arrive at 8:30, the movie will screen shortly afterwards.

The Cinematic Orchestra were commissioned to score the film at the opening of the Porto Festival in Portugal. The screening and score were met with a standing ovation.

Despite the film's new modern score, their is a timelessness to it that is in sharp contrast to its specific circumstances. In the early thirties, Soviet Cinema was the cutting edge. The art of montage editing, concepts of mise-en-scene, stuff that influenced every filmmaker ever came out of this scene, and Man with a Movie camera is full of groundbreaking techniques we take for granted: split screens, slow motion, fast motion, superimposition's, tracking and motion shots. It's the cinematic camera discovering itself - flexing its muscle and taking the world by storm.

But I'll let Mr. Vertoz have the final words on the film:


Of visual phenomena WITHOUT THE USE OF INTERTITLES (a film without intertitles)

WITHOUT THE HELP OF A SCRIPT (a film without a script)

WITHOUT THE HELP OF A THEATRE (a film without actors, without sets...)

This new experimentation work by Kino-Eye is directed towards the creation of an authentically international absolute language of cinema – ABSOLUTE KINOGRAPHY – on the basis of its complete separation from the language of theatre and literature.

- quoted in the communist rag Pravda.

Oh, and if you are some film distributor or studio head, you better watch out. Even associating with this film puts you on the Hollywood blacklist. What, you think that shit went away? The communists are everywhere, so watch out...they've even infiltrated our water, dr. strangelove...



Dave / September 17, 2006 at 05:54 pm
I know I could look this up, but how long is it? I have to be up real early the next morning.

I assume it is at the usual 8:30/9pm?
Omar / September 17, 2006 at 06:22 pm
Yes, thanks for reminding me to state the time.

Arrive at 8:30, we screen around 9pm. The film is 80 min long, so you'll have plenty of time to sleep and plenty of images to dream about.

hows that for a sales pitch? could I work in a repo lot or what...
Dave / September 17, 2006 at 06:41 pm
You'd have me repo-ing cars for you in no time!

OJ / September 18, 2006 at 12:01 pm
Um, I need my car repoed. If I come to the movie and bring my car, can you dispose of it for me?
Hannah / September 19, 2006 at 10:22 am
This was a fantastic movie. Funnily enough, it reminded me of an article I had read that morning. <a href="http://www.newyorker.com/printables/critics/060911crat_atlarge";>A review</a>, really, about the re-release (I think) of a book "Mass-Observation and Everyday Life" (Palgrave Macmillan; $85).

<blockquote>On January 30, 1937, a letter to the New Statesman and Nation announced that Darwin, Marx, and Freud had a successor—or, more accurately, successors. “Mass-Observation develops out of anthropology, psychology, and the sciences which study man,” the letter read, “but it plans to work with a mass of observers.” The movement already had fifty volunteers, and it aspired to have five thousand, ready to study such aspects of contemporary life as:

Behaviour of people at war memorials.
Shouts and gestures of motorists.
The aspidistra cult.
Anthropology of football pools.
Bathroom behaviour.
Beards, armpits, eyebrows.
Distribution, diffusion and significance of the dirty joke.
Funerals and undertakers.
Female taboos about eating.
The private lives of midwives.

The data collected would enable the organizers to plot “weather-maps of public feeling.” As a matter of principle, Mass-Observers did not distinguish themselves from the people they studied. They intended merely to expose facts “in simple terms to all observers, so that their environment may be understood, and thus constantly transformed.”</blockquote>
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