The Man with the Movie Camera (Chelovek s kino-apparatom)
dir. Dziga Vertov, USSR, 1929, DCP, 68mins. b/w English subtitles with original Russian inter-titles.
“I am an eye. A mechanical eye. I am the machine that
reveals the world to you as only the machine can see it.” – Dziga Vertov
These words, written in 1923 (only a year after Robert Flaherty’s Nanook of the North was released) reflect the Soviet pioneer’s developing approach to cinema as an art form that shuns traditional or Western narrative in favor of images from real life. They lay the foundation for what would become the crux of Vertov’s revolutionary, anti-bourgeois aesthetic wherein the camera is an extension of the human eye, capturing “the chaos of visual phenomena filling the universe.” Over the next decade-and-a-half, Vertov would devote his life to the construction and organization of these raw images, his apotheosis being the landmark 1929 film The Man with the Movie Camera. In it, he comes closest to realizing his theory of ‘Kino-Eye,’ creating a new, more ambitious and more significant picture than what the eye initially perceives.
Now – thanks to the extraordinary restoration efforts of Lobster Films, Blackhawk Films® Collection, EYE Film Institute, Cinémathèque de Toulouse, and the Centre National de la Cinématographie – Flicker Alley is able to present the The Man with the Movie Camera, newly-restored. Named the best documentary film of all time by Sight and Sound, it is presented here in its entirety for the first time since its original premiere. Discovered and restored at EYE Film Institute in Amsterdam—with extensive digital treatment by Lobster Films—the 35mm print from which this edition is, in part, sourced is the only known complete version of the film.