"Man with a Movie Camera" is an experimental, silent documentary film. It's experimental in that its director, Dziga Vertov, uses almost all the cinematic techniques in the book, ranging from double exposure to footage played backwards! It's a documentary as it shows urban life in various Soviet cities, and contains no actors! What a historical gem!
The film truly is a piece of cinematic history tantamount to the 1927 film, Berlin: Symphony of a Great City, as well as a good historical document as it features urban life in Odessa and other Soviet cities.
Considered a work “ahead of its time”, it’s fitting that the modern, experimental, fast paced sore performed by the nu jazz/downtempo band “The Cinematic Orchestra”, serves as the film’s musical accompaniment. I’d also consider it a stabilizer (even though we’re talking about experimental music) as it functions as the connective tissue between all the avant-garde film’s jump cuts, Dutch angles, and shifts in motion speeds! And what perfect synchronicity the two elements together form! With over 15 different editions, in terms of their soundtracks, to choose from, the one here is the most on-demand, and no wonder!
Besides the surreal nature of the shots, namely all the superimposed individuals, I love how I register the freeze frames as the video lagging owing to a poor internet connection even though I know it to be a technique administered by Vertov!
This piece truly is Cinéma vérité, from its title and inclusion of the camera as a subject throughout the film, to its seemingly being “all over the place”, which in all actuality resembles our pace and mind’s inner workings as human beings.