Revolutionary in its form, Man with a Movie Camera still captures the attention of the viewer and the spirit of filmmaking. It may be natural to assume that the aims of the film have unintentionally shifted from showcasing the possibilities of film towards something now more akin to viewing an exhibit at the museum, wherein the ability to marvel and peek into the past is now possible. Nonetheless, this is a film that resonates very strongly still. Vertov's dedication to one aspect of film - the literal filming process - and eschewing of other more theatrical conventions allows for the viewer to focus completely on the busy bodies on-screen. Which isn't to say there is no artistic flair occurring: motifs of eyes and lenses, signalling the viewing of the camera to its subjects, the audience to the film and the subjects to the world, run rampant here.
The inclusion of the actual man and his movie camera is another delightful artistic decision as well. Seeing his shadow scurry across metal beams, into cars and eagerly set up his camera feels somehow parallel to what the then-innovative medium of film must felt like to artists and audiences alike; the overpowering curiosity and need to capture everything, just to see how it would appear projected, would be overwhelming. Man with a Movie Camera still resonates powerfully. After spending an actual lifetime inspiring countless actors, directors and artists alike, this film still manages to continue to be a source of artistic vitality and curiosity. It's a beautiful piece of celluloid that is worthy of its army of plaudits.
Allie Gemmill | @alliegem