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In the past, what people saw on the big screen was always thought to be true. The people, the places and the scenarios that play out were represented solely in truth. In The Man With the Movie Camera, Vertov led the viewer down a trail of falsities and lies, which they were not expected to decipher. In today’s world of flash media, we as a society have become apt at decoding and decrypting lies presented to us as truths in television and movies.

It was presented to the view the acknowledgment that the camera was not just an inanimate object, but also a creature, which through its eyes creates and destroys worlds. Today’s ability to manipulate images and superimpose one image onto another easily is denoted with Vertov’s Keno Eye. The overlaying of one scene onto another creates false scenery and proportions in size. Today we use this knowledge of manipulation to further dissect what is presented to us as truth. If we know that man could never actually be crossbred with an alligator, such “tabloids” presented to us would instantly be noted as false.

Since Vertov’s day we have been able to make many great improvements in science and entertainment. With the ability of high-powered lenses in space we can see further then ever thought humanly possible. We can see down to molecular levels, looking at blood and categorizing humans into groups to show exactly what disease they might encounter in their lives. It’s with such truths that people have come to once again believe what they see. This is where the use of common sense is so vital in the war against what is real and what is simply fake.

One’s ability to use common sense can only go so far in today’s world, leaving us with the need to create more decisive ways of proving what is false and what is real. There have been great strides in the validation of digital photography, where one can see if it has been manipulated after it was pulled from the original source (i.e. digital camera). Also the integrity of film can be double checked by the ability to “blow up” an image (a high powered “lens”) and look for smoothing or rough edges in the image where there should not be any.

One has to be much more of a sleuth today in order to see through the hype and propaganda that is so commonly thrown at them. Sadly however, one normally isn’t able to see past the bright lights and “happy ending” in order to see the truth and sad outcomes in life. Many of today’s youth, and even our elders, have been taken in by the ease and simplicity of simply believing what they are told. The tools to see past the façades are definitely out there, one just has to be willing to deal with the fact that the truth isn’t always what they wanted to hear.

The first time that I ever saw Man With the Movie Camera, was with my boyfriend. We had a couple hours to kill before going into town to see Spider-man 2, so we opted for this artsy, underground film.

One word of advice: Never watch any Hollywood production after viewing Man With the Movie Camera.

Man With the Movie Camera (or Man With a Movie Camera or Living Russia), directed by Dziga Vertov, is a silent film made in 1929 Soviet Russia. A documentary of sorts, this film depicts a typical day (from morning to night) in the life of an average, working-class citizen, in 1929 Russia.

The documentary combines still shots with motion, while using some of the more modern filming techniques of the day. Some film is laid over other film or played backwards. Vertov even played around with stop motion animation. All these methods of projection, filming and editing were still being experimented with, at the time of the making of the movie.

The film is rich with nostalgia, and infested with urban scenes of Russia. Yet, any movie that includes numerous scenic shots will disengage the viewer, just as a slide show of your Aunt's month-long solo hike in the Alps will bore you to another helping of peach cobbler. To prevent this problem, sprinkled among the scenic shots are many extreme close-ups of laborers and loungers, such shots maintain the human spirit throughout the film.

My favorite of these extreme close-ups is a shot of a girl working in a cigarette factory. At the beginning of the shot she appears bored with her work. However, as the scene continues she smiles, laughs and talks, the viewer becomes exposed to this vivacious and fluttery character. It's just another form of characterization.

I, myself, have found it hard to define the plot or gist of this film. Others have argued that it is purely communist propaganda, while some claim it to be an innocent experiment with the filming process. It is obvious, from the beginning titles that this film was made as a sort of experiment, whether Vertov's intentions were for politics or beauty, remains unsolved.

However, the visual only comprises one half of this film, the other half is audio.

Vertov left notes as to the generality of the music that would be played during the film, yet he left no complete pages of music. Thus, there have been several different goes at it. In 2002 The Cinematic Orchestra recorded a soundtrack for the movie, including not only instrumental sounds, but also street noises, and some turntable and computer generated cacophonies.

The blending and uniting of the audio and visual make for a mind-blowing experience. The film is heartbreakingly beautiful, and is unpretentious in what it is and stands for.

On a subjective note, I believe this film is pure beauty. The nine movements recorded by the Cinematic Orchestra, inspired by the notes of Vertov, fit the imagery perfectly. The experience is well worth the online search, and the money.

Incidentally, I am well aware that there are and have been many different scores recorded for this film. Honestly, I have not had the pleasure of enjoying the other recordings, yet I am wholly satisfied and in awe of the work that The Cinematic Orchestra did for the latest release.

Sources: http://www.cinematicorchestra.com/everyday.html http://www.fact-index.com/m/ma/man_with_the_movie_camera.html http://www.ninjatune.net/ninja/release.php?id=693 http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/collective/A1057295

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