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Man with a Movie Camera

I found this bit of writing a former student named Fidencio produced for a class bog about the film by Vertov. Fidencio, thank you, and I hope that permission to use student work still stands eight years later.

i believe the principle characters of the film are the MAN WITH THE CAMERA, and LANGUAGE. the man with the camera is the more obvious one because he is one of the few repeating characters we see throughout the film, and plus the film is named after him. LANGUAGE however is the star. why is language a principle character or even the star? Vertov set out to make a film separated from language and literature. but i think by taking out language he actually brought more attention to it, especially more so to the people of our generation, that are more used to seeing “full surround sound films”. i caught myself on several occasions trying to read lips and filling in the blanks to what could possibly have been said. so at times i felt like this was drawing my attention away from the film, and so language was upstaging the man with the movie camera.

Vertov filmed this piece from random scenes of everyday life, and edited it to form some type of narration, but because there was no specific narration in mind i believe his narrative is more universal. i’m not quite convinced in his argument that you can create a narration from random scenes from everyday life. it seem more like he already had ideas in his head and then set out to look for them. i get the same feeling when people want to read me my horoscope. the horoscopes are so vague to begin with that you can fit them into each individual’s life and call it fortune telling. and its very similar technique used nowadays in “reality TV”, where they make common folk from laguna more dramatic and interesting by splicing their otherwise ordinary lives into crazy and dramatic seasons. regardless i do not think it takes away from his genius, its still an awesome film.

i think the motif that stood out would have to be the comparisons to the “eye”. the eye blinking or the eye in straight glance observation. it was compared many time to the shutter of the camera, and the blinking eye was also tied into the opening and closing of window blinds. plus, the metaphorical eye of the artist, Vertov’s, that was keen enough to pick up on all this information and select just what he needed to finish his piece.