Sunday, October 28, 2007

Vertov and the Cinema Eye

Eisenstein wrote in "Methods of Montage" that in order for the correct "pulsing" (p.73) between the film and audience there had to be an exact measurement of the mise-en-scene. If there was an "overcomplexity" then a "distinct emotional tension" would arise from the audience. Throughout the essay Eisenstein mentions the four different methods of montage--metric, rhythmic, tonal, overtonal--become constructions when each works together with one another.

This method for Eisentstien could not been seen as an achievement in Dziga Vertov's film, "Man with a Movie Camera" (1928). Vertov, in this film, decided to record the daily occurrences of life in Moscow from dawn to dusk. As the film progress it starts with silence, which if thought about could be like sleep, where everything is silent and as the audience walks towards their seats, they are ready to "start the show" or rather ready to wake up. Vertov starts with regular things like waking up and getting ready. The montage of images throughout the film, especially with the impressive images of factory work; from machine to human and from machine to their hands and showing how quickly each one moves was extremely impressive.

The movement throughout the film was as speedy as most silent films were back then. But the interesting thing that Vertov did was the juxtaposition of images, how the whole flow of the movie went through. Everything was seen in the eye of a camera eye. Another creative aspect was the movement of the camera itself with the montage of the audiences faces, who were entertained by a camera moving about by itself.

At the time that the movie was released, it did not receive high acclaim, especially from Eisenstein who disappointed by how slowly things progressed rather than with his method of montage time that a mise-en-scene film should move at. However, in the essay "From Magician to Epistemologist," edited by Adam Sitney, Vertov's film is seen as highly misunderstood, as most films are in their day. The film is compared with that of James Joyce's "Ulysses" a lengthy, complicated and confusing work of literary genius. This the author argued was what brought thinking up to a new level, and believed that Vertov did so as well.

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