“I am an eye. A mechanical eye. I am the machine that reveals the world to you as only the machine can see it.”
– Dziga Vertov (“Kino-Eye”)
These words, written in 1923 (only a year after Robert Flaherty’s Nanook of the North was released) reflect the Soviet pioneer’s developing approach to cinema as an art form that shuns traditional or Western narrative in favor of images from real life. They lay the foundation for what would become the crux of Vertov’s revolutionary, anti-bourgeois aesthetic wherein the camera is an extension of the human eye, capturing “the chaos of visual phenomena filling the universe.” Over the next decade-and-a-half, Vertov would devote his life to the construction and organization of these raw images, his apotheosis being the landmark 1929 film The Man with the Movie Camera. In it, he comes closest to realizing his theory of ‘Kino-Eye,’ creating a new, more ambitious and more significant picture than what the eye initially perceives.
Now – thanks to the extraordinary restoration efforts of Lobster Films, Blackhawk Films® Collection, EYE Film Institute, Cinémathèque de Toulouse, and the Centre National de la Cinématographie – Flicker Alley is able to present the The Man with the Movie Camera, newly-restored.
Named the best documentary film of all time by Sight and Sound, it is presented here in its entirety for the first time since its original premiere. Discovered and restored at EYE Film Institute in Amsterdam—with extensive digital treatment by Lobster Films—the 35mm print from which this edition is, in part, sourced is the only known complete version of the film.
For more information about renting The Man with the Movie Camera DCP for your theater, please fill out the Request Screening form or click the button below.
“Dziga Vertov’s Man with a Movie Camera (1929) is without a doubt one of the most-watched and analyzed avant-garde works of all time. Its place in the cinematic canon has been reinforced by Sight & Sound’s once-a-decade poll, the most recent of which named Vertov’s masterpiece the 8th greatest film ever made.”
– Diabolique Magazine
“In its original run, Man With The Movie Camera was exhibited with live musical accompaniment, often following Vertov’s notes for what he wanted the soundtrack to be . . . The Alloy Orchestra music—included on Flicker Alley’s new Blu-ray edition of Man With The Movie Camera—doesn’t distract from the images, but enhances their impact. The film would be exciting to watch even completely silent, both because it’s a valuable record of Soviet city life at the end of the 1920s, and because it explodes with visual ideas. Vertov and his collaborators tried out stop-motion animation, double exposures, split-screens, irises, and a pace that can only be described as ‘breakneck.’ But the heavily percussive music also helps get the heart pumping.”
– The Dissolve
“The Man With the Movie Camera is probably the most unusual film we’ve ever seen. (Like the street magician, the cameraman uses tricks in his act, such as superimposed imagery and split-screen photography.) It must have been a thrill to see it on the big screen when it was released in 1929.
If you’re in the mood for a completely different approach to filmmaking, we urge you to see The Man With the Movie Camera.”
– Silver Screenings