The Man with a Movie Camera is a fascinating Soviet Union silent film from the 1920s. The concept is quite clear: A director made a film about a director making a film which is being presented to an audience in the early and late scenes while being presented to the actual audience, we the viewers. It is certainly a strange concept, but a twenty-first-century viewer could easily argue the point of the film was to have the audience “inceptioned.” This is a modern concept where actual events are happening within a similar or identical scenario, coined via the film Inception from 2010. What I found to be most interesting throughout the film was the mobility of the cameraman. Though there are points you see him cranking the little box it is important to a viewer to know the same thing was being done behind the actual lens.
Upon further research, this concept of a mobile cameraman became popular in 1924 and became a sort of gold standard for films where the camera was less guided because it was no longer moving along a track. Additionally, the film provided a documentary feel to life in the Soviet Union during this time. It covered different classes, jobs, transportation, fashion, and so much more. This was a popular trend at the time with portable cameras as well as a camera that would be mounted to objects or directors themselves. Naturally, this was expensive, but more interestingly Vertov’s “film was accused of “narrow formalism” and “technological fetishism.”” This is interesting because the film has since then been deemed one of the greatest films of all time.
Despite the expense, I think that Frazer got it right. This film is beautifully put together. It was interesting and ahead of its time both in technique and concept. The Man with a Movie Camera has unsurprisingly inspired dozens of musicians to write music for it and for it to be shown in a historical context is not remotely far-fetched. The film was a brilliant window into Soviet Union life in the 1920s, film, and technology- both for cinema and what is captured in the film.
Cavendish, Phil. “The Delirious Vision: The Vogue for the Hand-held Camera in Soviet Cinema of the 1920s.” Studies in Russian & Soviet Cinema 7, no. 1 (March 2013): 5-24.
Frazer, Bryant. “Sight & Sound Revises Best-Films-Ever Lists.” Studio Daily. August 1, 2012. Accessed March 14, 2016. http://www.studiodaily.com/2012/08/sight-sound-revises-best-films-ever-lists/.
Youngblood, Denise J. “Soviet Silent Cinema 1918-1930.” In The Russian Cinema Reader. 1908 to the Stalin Era, edited by Rimgaila Salys, 66-86.
 Phil Cavendish, “The Delirious Vision: The Vogue for the Hand-held Camera in Soviet Cinema of the 1920s,” Studies in Russian & Soviet Cinema 7, no. 1 (March 2013): 8.
 Phil Cavendish, “The Delirious Vision: The Vogue for the Hand-held Camera in Soviet Cinema of the 1920s,” Studies in Russian & Soviet Cinema 7, no. 1 (March 2013): 8-10.