The Man with a Movie Camera

A.O. Scott looks back at Man with a Movie Camera. Watch the video.

(Chelovek s kinoapparatom). Witty, sassy, with an infectious joie de vivre, The Man with a Movie Camera demonstrates Vertov's "kino-eye" theory endowing the camera with the flexibility of the human eye-and the associative powers of a poet's brain. An ecstatic portrait of a city and its inhabitants (really three cities, Moscow, Kiev, and Odessa, merged), it is a compendium of extravagant camera and editing techniques, forever commenting on itself and our own watching. Appropriately, the camera-hero takes a bow at the end. The artist-critic Kazimir Malevich wrote in 1929, "I have discovered in The Man with a Movie Camera many frames with precisely Cubo-Futurist qualities. . . . The man who edited the film has marvelously grasped the idea or task of the new montage, which gives expression to a new, unprecedented shift."

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