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Man With A Movie Camera Blu-ray Review

“Man WIth A Movie Camera” is a silent film classic.

As the title suggests, 1929’s Russian silent film “Man With A Movie Camera” is indeed about a man with a movie camera as he captures life in the Soviet Union from morning until dawn. Through the camera lens, we see everyday people doing everyday jobs, industry, transportation, locations, a birth, a divorce, sports, entertainment and even a pre-meta beginning and ending of an audience watching the movie inside a movie theater.

To say ‘Camera’ is just a straight forward documentary would not be telling the whole story though. At its heart, the Dziga Vertov directed feature is a celebration of life and cinema. Throughout the 67 minute runtime, a variety of cinema styles, techniques, and tricks are showcased as we (the audience) witness the hustle and bustle of Soviet life alongside surrealistic and sometimes dreamlike imagery (a sentient camera, a cameraman popping out of a beer glass, and so on). 

Due to its highly visual and bold approach, ‘Camera’ has long been lauded as a landmark cinematic experiment. Not only is it a striking reflection of a time and a place, but it’s the type of movie that explores what cinema can do and what cinema can be. Even now in 2021, you can see just how ahead of its time this pioneering and influential silent film was.


Presentation: 1.33:1 1080p. How does it look? The new  BFI restored print has its fair share of flaws from scratches to jumpy frames, but this is the sharpest the film has looked to be sure.

Audio Track: LPCM 2.0. How does it sound? It may be a silent film, but it’s accompanied by a Michael Nyman score (which sounds crisp and clear to this reviewer).

* “The Life And Times Of Dziga Vertov”- A 46 minute interview with film scholar Ian Christie who discusses the work and life of Vertov, the time period, Russia, “Man With A Movie Camera,” and more.
* Dziga Vertov: Non-Fiction Film Thing”- A 20 minute video essay by critic/filmmaker David Cairns.
* An informative commentary by film historian Adrian Martin.

February 5, 2021 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , ,

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