Because of the doubts before screening, and the great anticipation, which came from Vertov's pre-screening statements, the film had gained a colossal interest before it was even shown. Working within a Marxist state, Vertov strove to create a futuristic city that would serve as a commentary on existing ideals in the Soviet ideology. The kino's aesthetic is achieved through the portrayal of electrification, industrialization, and the achievements of workers through hard labor. The film represents a precursor to modernism in film.
On a more technical note, Man with a Movie Camera's use of double exposure and seemingly "hidden" cameras disrupted the standard linear motion picture, creating a surreal montage. In many scenes, characters change size or appear underneath other objects through double exposure. Because of these technical innovations, the film's pace is fast moving and enthralling. The sequences and close-ups capture emotions without the need for dialogue. The film's lack of "actors" and "sets" makes for a unique view of the everyday world; one "directed toward the creation of a genuine, international, purely cinematic language, entirely distinct from the language of theatre and literature."
Vertov's use of stylistic symbolism was especially effective in creating a universal theme throughout the film. For example, one scene splices hidden camera shots of a couple getting marriage certificates and another couple at a divorce registry office. Soon after, two old women are shown attending a funeral procession and a woman is shown giving birth to a child. These sharply cut shots create a jarring effect for the viewer.
Vertov's cinema success continued into the 1930s. In 1931, he released Enthusiasm: Symphony of the Donbass, an examination into Soviet miners. Enthusiasm has been called a 'sound film', with sound recorded on location, and these mechanical sounds woven together, producing a symphony-like effect.
Three years later, Three Songs about Lenin looked at the revolutionary through the eyes of the Russian peasantry. For his film, however, Vertov had been hired by Mezhrabpomfilm(Gorky Film Studio), a Soviet studio that produced mainly propaganda efforts. To conform to the studio's, and the Soviet government's expectations, the film was edited to include Stalin and provide a more acceptable, "Stalinesque," ending. With the rise and official sanction of socialist realism in 1934, Vertov was forced to cut his personal artistic output significantly, eventually becoming little more than an editor for Soviet newsreels. Lullaby, perhaps the last film in which Vertov was able to maintain his artistic vision, was released in 1937. Dziga Vertov died of cancer in 1954, after surviving Stalin's purges.
Vertov's legacy still lives on today. His independent, explorative style influenced and inspired many filmmakers and directors. Film companies like "Vertov Industries" have emerged, attributing Dziga Vertov as a source of inspiration.
- "It is far from simple to show the truth, yet the truth is simple."
FilmographyPoster for Kino-Glaz (1924)
- 1919 Кинонеделя (Kino Nedelya, Cinema Week)
- 1919 Годовщина революции (Anniversary of the Revolution)
- 1922 История гражданской войны (History of the Civil War)
- 1924 Советские игрушки (Soviet Toys)
- 1924 Кино-глаз (Kino Glaz, Cinema Eye)
- 1925 Киноправда (Kino Pravda)
- 1926 Шестая часть мира (A Sixth of the World/The Sixth Part of the World)
- 1928 Одиннадцатый (The Eleventh)
- 1929 Человек с киноаппаратом (Man with the Movie Camera)
- 1931 Энтузиазм (Enthusiasm)
- 1934 Три песни о Ленине (Three Songs about Lenin)
- 1937 Памяти Серго Орджоникидзе (Memories of Sergo Ordzhonikidze)
- 1937 Колыбельная (Lullaby)
- 1938 Три героини (Three Heroines)
- 1942 Казахстан-фронту! (Kazakhstan for the Front!)
- 1944 В горах Ала-Тау (In the Mountains of Ala-Tau)
- 1954 Новости дня (News of the Day)
- Barnouw Erik. DocumentarCinema's Second Avant-Gardey: A History of the Non-fiction Film. Oxford University Press, 1974.
- Ellis, Jack C. The Documentary Idea: A Critical History of English-Language Documentary Film and Video. Prentice Hall, 1989. ISBN 0132171422
- Feldman, Seth. Peace between Man and Machine: Dziga Vertov's The Man with a Movie Camera.
- Grant, Barry Keith and Jeanette Sloniowski, eds. Documenting the Documentary: Close Readings of Documentary Film and Video. ISBN 0814326390
- Keathley, Christian M. Cinema's Second Avant-Garde. Master's Thesis, UF, 1993.
- Le Grice, Malcolm. Abstract Film and Beyond. Studio Vista, 1977. ISBN 0262620383
- Tode, Thomas, Barbara Wurm, eds. Dziga Vertov. The Vertov Collection at the Austrian Film Museum. Austrian Film Museum, 2006.
- Tsivian, Yuri. Dziga Vertov's Man with the Movie Camera. Audio Commentary Track. DVD.
- Vertov, Dziga. Kino-Eye: The Writings of Dziga Vertov. University of California Press, 1995. ISBN 0520056302
- Warren, Charles, ed. Beyond Document: Essays on Nonfiction Film. Wesleyan University Press, 1996. ISBN 0819562904