Director Dziga Vertov’s experimental look into the heart and soul of late 20′s Russia. What you take away from the film is left entirely up to the viewer as there is no script, no plot, no actors and no dialogue (in fact it is a silent film), just a sweeping portrait of life in Soviet cities.
There are several great shots that contrast each other including a funeral, a birth, the signing of a marriage certificate and the signing of a divorce certificate. Vertov also depicts homelessness, the blue-collar labor force and every day mundane duties, such as opening the shutters, with gritty detail. The strength of Man With The Movie Camera is Vertov’s ability to get fascinating shots from seemingly anywhere. Under a train, on the outside of a trolley as it speeds around town. Sweeping shots of city centers from high above the city where you can see every movement. His framing and perspective is top-notch as each frame seems to have a perfectly placed view of the scene and he implores different techniques throughout including double exposures and split screens. It makes you wonder how many reels of film he must have shot to make this hour-long feature.
Vertov seems to leave no stone unturned as there is even a scene of his wife editing some of his film reels. He had a very artistic vision and it is wonderful to watch a film like this. If a film would be made like this in the modern era it would end up on the BBC (alongside the Planet Earth series) or on PBS, but it really belongs in the hands of every young film student.