Man with a Movie Camera –or to give it the much easier pronunciation; Человек с киноаппаратом— is a Russian silent film from the 1920s famous for having no story, actors or distinguishable point. It is a simple 68 minute long montage of a photographer capturing Russian cities with a camera and yet for some reason, it is praised by film critics as one of the greatest films of all time.
Question; were these critics raised on nothing but unsalted nuts?
To review Man with a Movie Camera, I first feel the need to reiterate my understanding of the purpose of cinema.
Going to the movies should be an experience, an experience which can affect the viewer in many different ways. We go to horror films to experience fear, terror and/or a great tingling up our spine. We go to comedy films to laugh and forget about our problems, for we our laughing and our problems no longer matter. We go to action films to be thrilled, drama films to be gripped, you get the point.
This doesn’t need to be specific to each genre. You can go to a movie which just entertains you without falling into any specific category but it should give you enjoyment or satisfaction in some way.
Now that I have established what going to the cinema means for me, I can concisely and calmly express my opinions on Man with a Movie Camera.
HOW WAS THIS VOTED THE 8TH GREATEST FILM OF ALL TIME?
Man with a Movie Camera has no trace of a story and not a single character in it to portray its lack of a story. Was it an artistic statement? Because if so, well done Dziga Vertov, you’ve proved that art can become about as entertaining as a pencil stuck in a cheese wheel.
If this film was compressed from it’s original 68 minute runtime into a 10 minute short film using only the best of its shots, it would still be a bore because the shots themselves aren’t even that interesting. You may be able to argue that these shots revolutionised the freedom of the camera in cinema but personally, I don’t think a new camera shot is worth the price of admission.
I want a story. I want something to enjoy. Something to swallow this salty popcorn with. Anything. Please…
It’s because of films like Man with a Movie Camera that we can parody these arrogant filmmakers who seem to think that just because their idea is unique, it is instantly good. You know what else was unique? Crocs.
If anyone somehow managed to find solace or some thought-provoking message on the endless conformity of modern society within Man with a Movie Camera, congratulations. I’m glad that you can enjoy this. What I found was a seemingly neverending compilation of photos which were bland, boring and bland (there’s a double ‘bland’ for a reason). And if sitting through 68 minutes of that wasn’t enough, the repetitive music slowly drove me insane.
But then again maybe I’m being too harsh considering I mentally checked out less than halfway into the film. The lack of anything interesting really did make me think about other interesting things like… that itch on my left foot.
If you ever plan on watching Man with a Movie Camera, I seriously advise not to do so. Unless if you’re studying film and your professor has made it compulsory homework but even then, you should consider losing a couple of marks this semester.
What did you think of Man with a Movie Camera? Has a movie ever driven you insane like this film drove me? Was it Jack and Jill? I bet it was Jack and Jill.
Whatever your thought, leave your comment at the top and don’t forget to follow my Instagram page for foreign versions of movie posters.