Comparing Dziga Vertov's Film, Man with a Movie Camera and Run Lola Run
" The main and essential thing is : the sensory exploration of the world through film. We therefore take as a point of departure the use of the camera as a keno-eye, more perfect than the human eye, for the exploration of the chaos of visual phenomena that fills space."
- Dziga Vertov , Manifesto The Council of Three (1923)
The innovative theories and filmmaking techniques of Dziga Vertov revolutionized the way films are made today. Man With a Movie Camera (1929), a documentary that represented the peak of the Soviet avant-garde film movement in the twenties, displayed techniques in montage, creative camera angles, rich imagery, but most importantly allowed him to express his theories of his writings of Kino-eye (the camera). The film has a very simple plot that describes an average day in Russia, yet the final pieces of this film emerge a complex and fast-paced production that excites the audience. Vertov's ability to use radical editing techniques with unconventional filming to present ordinary things has inspired many directors around the world. And still now modern avant-garde movies apply many of these same techniques to dramatize simple and complex stories.
Vertov was one of the greatest innovators of Soviet cinema in the post WWI era. During this time, the freedom to make films was limited due to low stock of supply. Vertov and his colleagues had to be very creative and innovative if they were going produce anything at all. 'The Kuleshov Workshop', a workshop class at the Moscow Film School led by Lev Kuleshov included famous Soviet filmmakers like Vsevolod Pudovkin and Sergei Eisenstein, but excluded Vertov. This is significant to the fact that Vertov was very different than any other Russian director. Unlike the other Russian filmmakers, Vertov usually captured people with a candid-camera that allowed him to portray the truth, for example in his series called Kino-Pravada 1922-1925.
"Not 'filming life unawares' for the sake of the 'unawares', but in order to show people without masks, without makeup, to catch them through the eye of the camera in a moment when they are not acting..." (41 Vertov)
His original ways of thinking, isolated him from all other filmmakers. Even his style of using "montage" (editing style commonly used by Soviet directors) in Man with a Movie Camera was very different. In this film, hours of footage are edited together in many cuts, which is the style that Vertov is well known for. His cuts are very rapid and he displays them accordingly to music to add excitement to the sequence. The sequences act on all three levels of montage: narrative, intellectual, and emotional. For example in the beginning of Man with a Movie Camera, there is a sequence in a theatre where the cameraman sets up the film for the audience to watch (appendix 1). The lights come on, the seats go down, the cameraman sets up the projector, the...