Man with a Movie Camera
May 21st, 2016

Man with a Movie Camera [1929]

Please join us for a FREE one-day screening of Dziga Vertov’s Man with a Movie Camera [Chelovek s kino-apparatom] [1929], the second film of our Public Espresso themed trilogy about coffee and Constructivism.

  • Screening Date: Saturday, May 21st, 2016 | 1:00pm
  • Venue: The Mason O. Damon Auditorium at Buffalo Central Library
  • Specifications: 1929 / 68 minutes / Silent / Black & White
  • Director(s): Dziga Vertov
  • Print: Supplied by Kino Lorber
  • Tickets: Free and Open to the Public
  • Deal: Stop in early for a FREE Breadhive soft pretzel while supplies last!

Spring 2016 Season Sponsor:

Event Sponsors:

Venue Information:

1 Lafayette Square, Buffalo, NY 14203
(please use Clinton St entrance for Mason O. Damon Auditorium)

TrailerSynopsisDirector BioLinks

Courtesy of Kino Lorber:

Dziga Vertov’s Man With A Movie Camera is considered one of the most innovative and influential films of the silent era. Startlingly modern, this film utilizes a groundbreaking style of rapid editing and incorporates innumerable other cinematic effects to create a work of amazing power and energy.

After his work on The Commissar Vanishes, a multi-media art event of 1999, composer Michael Nyman (The Ogre, The Piano) continued researching the period of extraordinary creativity that followed the Russian Revolution. This artistic inquiry resulted in the celebrated score for Man With A Movie Camera, performed by the Michael Nyman Band on May 17, 2002 at London’s Royal Festival Hall.

This dawn-to-dusk view fo the Soviet Union offers a montage of urban Russian life, showing the people of the city at work and at play, and the machines that endlessly whirl to keep the metropolis alive. It was Vertov’s first full-length film, and it employs all the cinematic techniques at the director’s disposal — dissolves, split-screens, slow-motion, and freeze-frames — to produce a work that is exhilarating and intellectually brilliant.


  • Locarno International Film Festival – 1967
  • Berlin International Film Festival – 1985
  • BFI London Film Festival – 2010

“I am eye. I am a mechanical eye. I, a machine, am showing you a world, the likes of which only I can see.”

Courtesy of

Dziga Vertov, pseudonym of Denis Arkadyevich Kaufman (born Jan. 2, 1896 [Dec. 21, 1895, Old Style], Belostok, Russia—died Feb. 12, 1954, Moscow, Russia, U.S.S.R.), Soviet motion-picture director whose kino-glaz (“film-eye”) theory—that the camera is an instrument, much like the human eye, that is best used to explore the actual happenings of real life—had an international impact on the development of documentaries and cinema realism during the 1920s. He attempted to create a unique language of the cinema, free from theatrical influence and artificial studio staging.

As a newsreel cameraman during the Russian Civil War, Vertov filmed events that were the basis for such factual films as Godovshchina revolyutsii (1919; The Anniversary of the October Revolution) and Boi pod Tsaritsynom (1920; Battle of Tsaritsyn). At age 22 he was the director of a government cinema department. The following year he formed the Kinoki (the Film-Eye Group), which subsequently issued a series of manifestos against theatricalism in films and in support of Vertov’s film-eye theory. In 1922 the group, led by Vertov, initiated a weekly newsreel called Kino-pravda (“Film Truth”) that creatively integrated newly filmed factual material and older news footage.

The subject matter of Vertov’s later feature films is life itself; form and technique are preeminent. Vertov experimented with slow motion, camera angles, enlarged close-ups, and crosscutting for comparisons; he attached the camera to locomotives, motorcycles, and other moving objects; and he held shots on the screen for varying lengths of time, a technique that contributes to the rhythmic flow of his films. Outstanding among Vertov’s pictures are Shagay, Sovyet! (1925; Stride, Soviet!), Shestaya chast mira (1926; A Sixth of the World), Odinnadtsatyi (1928; The Eleventh), Chelovek s kinoapparatom (1928; The Man with a Movie Camera), Simfoniya Donbassa (1930; Symphony of the Donbass), and Tri pesni o Lenine (1934; Three Songs of Lenin). Vertov later became a director in the Soviet Union’s Central Documentary Film Studio. His work and his theories became basic to the rediscovery of cinéma vérité, or documentary realism, in the 1960s.


  • Novosti dnya (1954)
  • Klyatva molodykh (1944)
  • V gorakh Ala-Tau (1944)
  • Kazakhstan – frontu! (1942)
  • Blood for Blood, Death for Death (1941)
  • V rayone vysoty A (1941)
  • Tri geroini (1938)
  • Lullaby (1937)
  • Pamyati Sergo Ordzhonikidze (1937)
  • Three Songs About Lenin (1934)
  • Enthusiasm (1930)
  • Zvukovaya sbornaya programma No 2 (1930)
  • Man with a Movie Camera (1929)
  • The Eleventh Year (1928)
  • Forward, Soviet! (1926)
  • The Sixth Part of the World (1926)
  • Kino-Eye (1924)
  • Istoriya grazhdanskoy voyny (1922)
  • The Battle of Tsaritsyne (1920)
  • Godovchina revoljutsii (1919)
  • Kino-nedelya (1919)
  • Le Proces Mironov (1919)

Here is a curated selection of links shared on our Facebook page for additional insight/information:

  • 4/8/16 – Thanks to Google Books, you can read Vlada Petrić’s Constructivism in Film for free – link
  • 5/2/16 – Man with a Movie Camera was voted #1 in Sight & Sound‘s recent poll of the Greatest Documentaries of All Time! – link
  • 5/9/16 – A thorough primer on the Soviet filmmaker behind the doc classic Man with a Movie Camera thanks to Senses of Cinemalink
  • 5/11/16 – “More than 85 years after its release in 1929, it is difficult to watch Dziga Vertov’s most famous film, Man with a Movie Camera, without being bowled over – by its energy, its dynamism, and its visually playful nature.” Ben Nicholson, BFI – link
  • 5/16/16 – “If you want to know exactly what cinema can do, catch this silent masterpiece recently voted the best doc of all time” Tom Huddleston, Time Out Londonlink
  • 5/17/17 – “Most movies strive for what John Ford called “invisible editing” — edits that are at the service of the storytelling, and do not call attention to themselves. Even with a shock cut in a horror film, we are focused on the subject of the shot, not the shot itself. Considered as a visual object, Man with a Movie Camera deconstructs this process. It assembles itself in plain view. It is about itself, and folds into and out of itself like origami.” Roger Ebert – link

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